Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

by Vaniver1 min read30th Jun 2013963 comments


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This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 88-89The previous thread has passed 500 comments. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 12345678910111213141516, 17, 18.

Spoiler Warning: this thread is full of spoilers. With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13. More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it’s fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” unless you use rot13.

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Public Service Announcement: If you feel strongly affected by chapter 89, and do not yet have first aid training, consider googling a local class and signing up. Some sudden deaths can be prevented, and it might need to be by you. Make the most good out of your horror and revulsion.

8ChristianKl8yAs far as teachable lessons go, Harry didn't get first aid training for his first aid kid. If Eliezer wanted to maximize the amount of the impact of this lesson he could let a healer tell Harry that he didn't use the kit to maximum effect in an upcoming chapter.

First aid kit as curiosity stopper. Treating it as more a checkmark on a list of things responsible people have, and not an item that causally interacts with the world.

6sixes_and_sevens8yOne of the first things we got taught in first aid was "there's nothing in a first aid kit that can save a life". This probably needs a bunch of caveats to make it absolutely factually true, but it's worth generally bearing in mind. (My actual first aid kit includes a pair of trauma shears, which I think could save a life in a non-negligible amount of emergency circumstances.)

And thus, Hermione Jean Granger was permenantly sacrificed in a ritual which manifested Harry Potter.

8Alsadius8yClever, but I just can't bring myself to upvote it.
4Ritalin8yYou know, that is way funnier than it has any right to be.

This is a very powerful demonstration of how the sudden death of a single loved friend affects one more than the horrible, slow torture to death of a thousand strangers in Azkaban.

This applies to Harry - but I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about myself and all the readers now expressing their pain on reddit.

A single death is felt differently from a thousand deaths. At least in fiction...

Y'know, I like the new, true version of Ch. 85, the one where Harry fails to get a phoenix -- but I also really liked the original version (which, remember, Eliezer wrote as a stand-in because he couldn't get the true version finished in time), where Harry, compromising with himself, made a resolution that for now he would try to win without killing people -- but if anybody died [by his opponent's hands], not just a PC, but any arbitrary bystander (he'd been thinking about how Batman's ethics only come off as good if you don't care about all the NPCs the Joker kills), the gloves would come off.

I'd kind of hoped that Harry would be able to actually go through without a death, and failing that I kind of expected that it would be some random NPC's death that would change things -- but I don't think that would actually have worked to justify Harry's future actions to the reader. [ETA: I guess buybuydavis is right too that, even more importantly, it wouldn't have worked as a statement against death.] It really does need to be somebody we (the readers) care about in order to carry even a fraction of the emotional impact that death should carry.

(Tangent: As a preteen, I read 2001 up to th... (read more)

5buybuydandavis8yI don't think it works if what EY is making a statement against Death, which it seems to me he is. Rationality is all fine and dandy, but I think it's window dressing on the main theme of the value of Life and the horror of Death. The best, the brightest, the most loved, the least deserving of it will die with all the rest. So, Hermione dies.
4DanielLC8yThere was one thing that annoyed me about this. Harry wasn't just fighting Voldemort. He barely even cares about Voldemort. He's fighting everything bad about the universe. If he was truly willing to take the gloves off after the first death, then he would have done so after about half a second.
6Ritalin8yDepends on the circumstances. For example, if you're inflicting the deaths yourself; I read somewhere that the Nazis used gas chambers rather than the bullets they used at first, because killing unarmed, unresisting individuals of all ages and genders by the dozen disturbed the soldiers. Or when you don't know the people yourself, but their disappearance impacts and cripples your world.

When I first read the end of the chapter, my thought was that Quirrell hadn't arranged the incident; he had thought it was a "surprisingly good day" which suggested to me that he hadn't expected the troll.

After reading comments, I became less sure about that; someone suggested that Quirrell might have simply not intended for Harry to be at the scene and in danger. This seems plausible, but one thing still makes it difficult for me to believe it was Quirrell.

The troll had been enchanted against sunlight:

someone had enchanted the troll against sunlight before using it as a murder weapon and might also have strengthened it in other ways.

And Harry transfigured part of the troll:

Harry visualized a one-millimeter-wide cross-section through the enemy's brain, and Transfigured it into sulfuric acid.

But before, it was stated that Quirrell could not charm something that Harry had Transfigured:

Professor Quirrell could not cast spells on something Harry had Transfigured, for that would be an interaction, however slight, between their magics, but -

For Quirrell to have been behind this, I can see only two possibilities: 1) Harry can transfigure something Professor Quirrell ... (read more)

Harry transfigured the inside of the troll. Maybe Quirrell only needed to enchant the outside?

Hermione's cheeks were going even redder. "You're really evil, did anyone ever tell you that?"

"Miss Granger," Professor Quirrell said gravely, "it can be dangerous to give people compliments like that when they have not been truly earned. The recipient might feel bashful and undeserving and want to do something worthy of your praise.

Hermione's lips were moving, just a tiny bit but they were moving.

"your... fault..."

Time froze. Harry should have told her not to talk, to save her breath, only he couldn't unblock his lips.

Hermione drew in another breath, and her lips whispered, "Not your fault."

"Of course it was my fault. There's no one else here who could be responsible for anything."

"One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, 'Why weren't you prepared?' And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won't ever forgive me -"

9jefftk8y(http://hpmor.com/chapter/6 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/6])

I'm sad now.

Those of you who didn't read canon before reading this, there's a corresponding incident in the first book which I think would add to your understanding of this incident. Quirrell sneaks a troll into the school, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione are improbably able to defeat it using the first thing the Weasleys try here (smacking it with its own club). The difficulty level of that encounter was clearly calibrated to the characters' strengths in a way common in heroic stories and I think Eliezer was deliberately subverting that expectation. (He's made this point in the sequences on a few occasions - something about how it's allowed for Nature to just throw problems at humanity that are too hard for it - although I can't find a quote at the moment.) I particularly appreciated how Harry only used tools that he had deliberately prepared in advance, sometimes way in advance, e.g. the healer's kit.

I also wonder where Fawkes was while this was happening. You'd think he would've found his way to either Harry or Hermione.

I have a mild complaint about all these cameos. Some of the names of the people who end up getting cameos don't fit in the Harry Potter universe to my ear and they stick out really noticeably. One of the first things I'd do if I were hypothetically rewriting HPMoR for publication is to come up with a consistent and meaningful naming scheme.

The difficulty level of that encounter was clearly calibrated to the characters' strengths in a way common in heroic stories and I think Eliezer was deliberately subverting that expectation.

I think it's ironic that at the begining of the update, Harry refers to Filch as a "low-level random encounter whom [he] often breezed past wearing his epic-level Deathly Hallow".

5CAE_Jones8yI haven't read much Hary Potter fanfiction, but what I have, including HPMoR, tends to up the difficulty considerably, and makes this apparent by having the characters use the same trick that Ron knocked out the canon troll with to little or no effect. (In this case, Eliezer made it clear in Quirrel's first class that that trick would be dreadfully unlikely to work.) Is this a trend in HP fanfiction (in which case, it seems to fall into the class of "taking HP fanfiction tropes and doing them better" that Eliezer's been following)? Or is my sample size too small?
3Qiaochu_Yuan8yI think most Harry Potter fanfiction doesn't have a difficulty level as such. Your sample is probably extremely unrepresentative.

I predict that it will be revealed that Quirrell or a closely related entity has been abusing Harry on and off throughout his life, to try and make him into a Dark Lord.

He can go to Harry's house like the time he played Father Christmas.

Obliviated memories leave residue, which is how in Chapter 88 the twins remembered that they could find people, in the castle, but couldn't remember how.

In the first chapter, Harry noticed that he believed in magic.

some part of Harry was utterly convinced that magic was real

In chapter 16, Harry is almost reminded of something when he looks at Quirell, but can't remember what. And when Quirrell is first introduced, Harry ominously recognizes him

"Professor?" Harry said, once they were in the courtyard. He had meant to ask what was going on, but oddly found himself asking an entirely different question instead. "Who was that pale man, by the corner? The man with the twitching eye?"

"Hm?" said Professor McGonagall, sounding a bit surprised; perhaps she hadn't expected that question either. "That was Professor Quirinus Quirrell. He'll be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts this year at Hogwarts."


... (read more)

Edit: I just realized that Harry was probably abused almost every night (or day) for some significant period. There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

I don't know about this, for a couple of reasons.

1) If there was a time turner involved, why do the issues with Harry's sleep schedule persist even after he gets to Hogwarts and gains a time-turner of his own?

2) If someone spent a two-hour period of time abusing Harry and then time-turnering it away every day, wouldn't he get tired two hours early nstead of two hours late? That is to say, wouldn't his sleep cycle appear to be 22 hours instead of 26?

6loserthree8yFor the same reason his response persist even when the abuse no longer does: he's been conditioned. It goes the other way. See, while he was being abused for two hours a day that no one else experienced, he was experiencing 26 hour days when everyone else was experiencing 24 hour days. So his body adjusted to that.

My interpretation is that all of these are symptoms of Harry's dark side (which is the backup copy / horcrux of Voldemort somewhere in him).

There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

This is an intriguing hypothesis, but are you aware that Eliezer also has this condition? I was under the impression that he was working off of his own experiences here and nothing more.

I think the simpler "conscious Horcrux inside Harry" theories are ruled out by the sorting hat: "I can tell you that there is definitely nothing like a ghost - mind, intelligence, memory, personality, or feelings - in your scar. Otherwise it would be participating in this conversation, being under my brim."

It is possible that the original, canon Harry has been completely replaced by Voldemort, or that the Horcrux has merged with Harry to form a new single personality. The sorting hat is also explicit that it does not remember previous students such as Tom Riddle as individuals. Therefore it would not notice if HJPEV were in fact Tom Riddle redux. However there's just one person in Harry, not two.

3loserthree8yI probably heard that at some point; it's been years since this started, now. But I expect better of him than "I get ingrown toenails and ingrown toenails don't get enough attention from the public so I'm going to give my protagonist that problem, too." Also, cannon Harry didn't have the sleep cycle problem. For the most part, there are in-universe reasons for departures from cannon other than, "That was dumb and I'm not writing a story with dumb in it."
9roystgnr8yThis is good evidence right up until you destroy your own case: "Quirrell expected Harry to become a Dark Lord when he spoke with him after the first class and was surprised that Harry aspired to science." Surprise that Harry aspired to science is not what someone who had been regularly communicating with Harry for a decade would experience. On the other hand, you're firing with some fully automatic plot-armor-piercing bullets, there. Quirrell's primary motivation is clearly to groom Harry for some future, so if he waited to start doing so until Harry entered Hogwarts, why did he wait? My favorite theory (Harry is an amnesiac transfer of Voldemort, Quirrelmort is just a horcrux) is only slightly better here. In this case Quirrelmort wouldn't anticipate how much a happy childhood might change Voldemort's personality and wouldn't see the need to remold himself until after that first encounter. That still doesn't explain why he wouldn't even check in on himself for a decade. It took that long for the "mort" part of Quirrelmort to take full control? Or maybe after taking control Quirrelmort knows he only has a year's worth of activity before decaying away, so he chose to save it when he would have extended contact with Harrymort and the latter would be studying magic?
5buybuydandavis8ySo that Harry would have started to use magic, and could be seen to defeat Voldemort in combat, instead of just be part of some freakish accident that killed Voldemort. Harry "defeats" Voldemort while Voldemort downloads into Harry, transforming himself from Villain to Savior and living happily ever after.
4Ben Pace8yFridge Horror. [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeHorror]
2GuySrinivasan8yDon't forget (emphasis added)

This is interesting. From the end of Ch. 89:

Unseen by anyone, the Defense Professor's lips curved up in a thin smile. Despite its little ups and downs, on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day

From Ch. 46, after Harry destroys the dementor:

I must admit, Mr. Potter, that although it has had its ups and downs, on the whole, this has been a surprisingly good day.

Every day that Harry kills something is a good day, of course.

Without endorsing any part of this comment dealing with events which have yet to take place, I congratulate user 75th who receives many Bayes points for this:


Hermione is dead. Hermione Granger is doomed to die horribly. Hermione Granger will very soon die, and die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Fare thee well, Hermione Jean Granger. You escaped death once, at a cost of twice and a half your hero's capital. There is nothing remaining. There is no escape. You were saved once, by the will of your hero and the will of your enemy. You were offered a final escape, but like the heroine you are, you refused. Now only death awaits you. No savior hath the savior, least of all you. You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you. You are the cord binding Harry Potter to the Light, and you will be cut, and your blood, spilled by the hand of your enemy, will usher in Hell on Earth, rendered by the hand of your hero.

Goodbye, Hermione. May the peace and goodness you

... (read more)

Or alternately, somewhere in the literally thousands and thousands of predictions or claims (I have ~200 in just my personal collection which is nowhere comprehensive) spread across the 20k MoR reviews on FF.net, the >5k comments on LW, the 3650 subscribers of the MoR subreddit, the TvTropes discussions etc etc, someone got something right.

You know perfectly well that one does not get to preach about a single right prediction. He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

[-][anonymous]8y 49

He also predicted that Hat and Cloak was Quirrell, Santa Claus was Dumbledore, and S. was Snape. He considered these predictions blatantly obvious as well. I remember receiving ~13 upvotes for arguing that Quirrell could be ruled out as H&C, so it wasn't as obvious to all of us.

All of which were consensus beliefs; do not make the mistake of interpreting upvotes as object-level agreement - you may have received the upvotes for making the anti-Quirrel case well or bringing up some bit that people hadn't remembered or just being funny.

It's a large space, not a binary yes-or-no, so successful predictions are impressive even given a large base. Also I could be prejudiced but MoR is supposed to be solvable god damn it.

Someone was criticized. S/he was right, the critics were wrong. The neural net updating algorithm calls for a nudge in the appropriate direction of "Beware of dismissing those who speak with what you think is too much confidence."

4gwern8yNo, it doesn't, not out of thousands of predictions of which you selected one post hoc. If I may quote you, our minds do not run on floating point beliefs.
3elharo8yI update in favor of "user 75th is more experienced in the tropes of enigma fiction." Indeed I would not be at all surprised were I to discover that user 75th writes such fiction him or herself. It similarly wouldn't surprise me if user 75th had gone to the library and checked out and read some of the same 15 books Elizier checked out and read before writing HPMoR. For example, before reading the author's notes on HPMoR I was not familiar with Chekhov's Gun. Now that I am, I am much more likely to catch such a device when it appears in other fiction. I now suspect user 75th is quite familiar with Chekhov's Gun and other standard tricks of this sort of story. 75th picked up on one such trope (one I'm still not familiar with) that signaled that Hermione was heading for death. If there's a general update to be had here, it may go something like this: Before dismissing those who speak with what I think is too much confidence, I need to consider the possibility that their confidence is based on facts or experience I am not aware of. I should probably take five minutes to ask them why they are so confident before dismissing them.

Ha, you've got me all wrong. I am woefully under-read, particularly in fiction. I get a very small percentage of the references Eliezer makes in Methods; most of the time, I find out that he's borrowed something months (or, let's face it, years) after I read it, only by seeing someone else explicitly point out the reference. I have had my life ruined by TV Tropes, but most of what I'm familiar with there is video games, and not too awfully many of those.

But it's not a matter of picking up on specific tropes, exactly. It's more a matter of getting into the author's head. Of constantly asking "If this were foreshadowing or a setup or a clue, what would be the most effective payoff?" I read Chapter 84, and then, put together with many other quotes from my many rereads of HPMoR ("Nothing really bad ever happens at Hogwarts", "Her life was officially over", etc.), I answered that question with "Hermione will die horribly," then posted how I felt about it.

It's the same deal with my prediction — which I'm far more certain of than I was that Hermione would die horribly — that Nzryvn Obarf xvyyrq Anepvffn Znysbl. I got into an argument with someone o... (read more)

3Alsadius8yRe the rot13 bit, I called it that Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq ure based on text evidence before that was revealed, so the idea that it's Obarf has always seemed wrong to me. They can't both have done it, you know?

Arf, didn't mean to start this again, but here's my usual litany:

Gur bayl rivqrapr jr unir gung Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq Anepvffn vf gung Yhpvhf fnlf Qhzoyrqber gbyq uvz fb. Jr qba'g xabj gur rknpg jbeqf Qhzoyrqber hfrq, naq oheavat fbzrbar nyvir ernyyl qbrfa'g frrz yvxr Qhzoyrqber'f fglyr (nygubhtu V jvyy fnl gung Puncgre 89 vf gur svefg gvzr V'ir gubhtug gur Qhzoyrqber-vf-rivy pebjq zvtug npghnyyl unir fbzrguvat fhofgnagvir gb jbex jvgu). Zrnajuvyr:

  1. Nzryvn'f qrsnhyg gubhtug jura eriratr pbzrf gb zvaq vf "Fbzrbar jbhyq ohea sbe guvf."
  2. Anepvffn'f fvfgre xvyyrq Nzryvn'f oebgure.
  3. Nzryvn vf gur bar jub fcrnxf hc va gur Jvmratnzbg, gryyvat Qhzoyrqber "Qba'g rira guvax nobhg vg" jura Qhzoyrqber pbafvqref pbasrffvat gb Anepvffn'f zheqre.

Jura V bayl xarj nobhg #1, V jebgr vg bss nf n cbffvoyr pbvapvqrapr. Ohg gura crqnagreevsvp cbvagrq bhg #2 gb zr, naq V fgebatyl hctenqrq gur ulcbgurfvf'f cebonovyvgl. Gura yngre #3 unccrarq, naq V orpnzr nf pregnva nf V nz abj.

And if that's not as close as you can actually come to a Bayesian updating process when reading a fiction book, where the only experiment you can perform is "Wait for more chapters and then read them", I would love to learn what's legitimately closer.

He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

I totally get the point of the rest of your comment, but not this sentence. A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here; I've gotten things wrong too, and my original comment in question here was much more about expressing my despair at Chapter 84 than trying to register a prediction for later credit. But I don't see how I had any particular "opportunity to make more than that prediction" that I failed to take, beyond the fact that anyone can make any prediction they feel like any time they feel like it.

A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

More or less. Think of it in terms of selection bias: a bunch of people enter a lottery of some sort. After the lottery concludes, the lottery organizer Yliezer Eudkowsky praises the winner, entrant #57, for their deep insights into lotteries and how to guess the winning number and admonishes everyone who told #57 to not get his hopes up. Do we now credit #57 for wisdom and study his numerology? No, not really.

Now, if #57 had simultaneously entered 5 other lotteries and won 3 of them, then we would start wondering what #57's edge is and preorder #57's upcoming book Secrets of the RNG Illuminati. Or even if he had won none of those other lotteries and simply gotten 3 near-misses (5 out of 6 digits right, for example), that would still serve as replication of above-average predictive accuracy and not mere selection effects, and persuade us that something was going on there beyond randomness+post-hoc-selection.

4Vaniver8yMm. I think there's wisdom in the approach of only making public predictions when you're very confident in them, and that may have been the only thing 75th was that confident in. (This isn't a very good approach for calibrating your brain's sense of uncertainty, but it has other benefits.)
3ChristianKl8yYou can always make public predictions with the confidence that you have on prediction book.

I am breaking my "only comment on LW if you expect some benefit" rule because I am in a somewhat unique position to comment on this, and I agree with Eliezer that "penalizing people for sounding certain or uppity or above-the-status-you-assign-them can potentially lead you to ignore people who are actually competent". See, I made this update at an earlier time under not-dissimilar circumstances. (In short, I thought ArisKatsaris was making an overconfident prediction about HPMoR, bet against him, and lost.)

An excerpt from my journal, 3/28/2012:

Well, I lost my bet. But what did I learn? Give less probability mass to “some unknown possibility no one has thought of” when the number of people thinking is sufficiently large. Also, arrogant people may be arrogant because they’re usually right, so be careful of the impulse to smack them down.

So, you know, here's a chance to learn a $30 lesson for free, people.

7roystgnr8yI wasn't one of the downvotes, but if I'd seen it I would have been. I count 14 sentences in that post which each deserve an upvote, but then a 15th sentence which more than cancels out all the rest, not due to certainty, but due to literal malevolence! But you're awarding Bayes points for a combination of brilliant analysis and anti-goodness motivation? I thought we were anti-UFAI here...

Ha, interesting take. That last sentence was not actually an endorsement of horrible murderous things happening, it was just my way of saying "Now let's get down to business" about the home stretch of the story.

6roystgnr8yThanks for the clarification! I retract my objections. As for the common criticism, although I'm as adamant as the next person here that "p=1" is impossible without infinite evidence, I don't think that fact demands that every casual conversation must quantify "1 minus epsilon" or even explicitly acknowledge it.
6ChrisHallquist8yI went to check on the original comment, saw that I had downvoted it, and now I am embarrassed.
6LucasSloan8yWell, in the spirit of sticking your neck out: Harry was sorted into Slytherin. Dumbledore created Harry to be the ideal literary hero. Lord Voldemort doesn't want to conquer the world. Dumbledore is working on way more advance information than everyone else.

Counter-evidence: Harry produces blue and bronze sparks at Ollivander's.

As long as we're sticking necks out, though:

  • Definitely: The horcrux technology uses the ghost phenomenon. Specifically, by causing the violent death of a wizard under controlled conditions (i.e., murder) it's possible to harness the powerful burst of magic to make a ghost of the living caster instead of of the dying victim: a backup copy. A ghost may be static data rather than a running instance, but hey, so is a cryo patient.

  • Definitely: Baby Harry was overwritten with a horcrux-backup-copy of Voldemort. Voldemort didn't plan on childhood amnesia, though, and much of the information was erased (or at least made harder to access consciously). The Remembrall-like-the-Sun indicated the forgotten lifetime as Riddle. Remnants of Voldemort's memories are the reason Harrymort has a cold side; his upbringing in a loving family is the reason he has a warm side.

  • Mere hunch: In chapter 45, the Dementor recognized Harry as Voldemort and addressed him by name: "Riddle".

  • Mere hunch: Voldemort may have chosen to impress his horcrux in a living human in order to try to get around the "static data" pro

... (read more)
8Qiaochu_Yuan8ySome of the horcruxes in canon are made from murdering Muggles, though. I don't see anywhere that this happens in Chapter 45.
9monsterzero8yVery early in the chapter: "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it. A strange word kept echoing in his mind." And later: "Harry glanced in the Dementor's direction. The word echoed in his mind again. All right, Harry thought to himself, if the Dementor is a riddle, what is the answer? And just like that, it was obvious." Once Harry figures out what Dementors are, he stops being able to hear their "voices", because he no longer sees (hears) them as sentient. But if "the word" was actually coming from the Dementor, I don't know what would've kept everyone else from hearing it.

From Chapter 6:

Harry was examining the wizarding equivalent of a first-aid kit, the Emergency Healing Pack Plus. There were two self-tightening tourniquets. A Stabilisation Potion, which would slow blood loss and prevent shock. A syringe of what looked like liquid fire, which was supposed to drastically slow circulation in a treated area while maintaining oxygenation of the blood for up to three minutes, if you needed to prevent a poison from spreading through the body. White cloth that could be wrapped over a part of the body to temporarily numb pain. Plus any number of other items that Harry totally failed to comprehend, like the "Dementor Exposure Treatment", which looked and smelled like ordinary chocolate. Or the "Bafflesnaffle Counter", which looked like a small quivering egg and carried a placard showing how to jam it up someone's nostril.

From Chapter 89:

"Fuego!" / "Incendio!" Harry heard, but he wasn't looking, he was reaching for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion, pushing it into Hermione's neck at what Harry hoped was the carotid artery, to keep her brain alive even if her lungs or heart sto

... (read more)
6thakil8yHuh, reading that quote again it occurs to me that Harry doesn't reach for the oxygenating potion, he reaches for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion. A truly prepared murderer would merely have to replace the syringe with... something else.
3William_Quixote8yMan, that's brutal
[-][anonymous]8y 26

I think I've identified three techniques Eliezer uses to create associations in the readers' minds and promote ideas to their attention.

There's repetition. If you're sensitive to repetition then the repetition will drive you mad. Five false prophets, many uses of Grindelwald's name, and about a zillion instances of the phrase 'the old wizard'. Dumbledore is old, old, old.

There's placing two related ideas side by side. Like Harry wondering how magic could possibly work, then segueing into an 'analogy' to artificial intelligence. (Repeatedly, so it's a twofer.) Or the description of phoenix travel appearing in the same chapter as Harry confronting Dumbledore over Narcissa's death.

And there's the throwaway gag that contains the literal truth. "It's not like I'm an imperfect copy of someone else." "Let me know after it turns out that it was Professor Quirrell who did it."

And, perhaps, "And if you coincidentally crack the secret of immortality along the way, we'll just call it a bonus."

After Chapter 87, I thought it likely that Hermione's primary contribution to the story would be to rediscover the Philosopher's Stone through the application of the scientif... (read more)

What happened to Hermione was shocking and has nearly monopolized the posts in this thread so far.

There's aftermath coming, though, and I'd like to talk about that. Harry is probably in a lot of trouble. Here's a short list of rules violations:

  • He left the Great Hall when specifically warned that doing so would result in expulsion and when he's not allowed to be expelled.
  • He inspired other students to take up arms against their teachers, or their groundskeeper, or against their teachers by way of their teachers' groundskeeper, or something. It probably got even worse after he left.
  • He endangered other students, the twins, even before confronting the troll by way of unsafe broom usage. Point three see, and all that.
  • He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.
  • He may have damaged His Father's Rock.
  • He transfigured something that burns, specifically so that it would do so.
  • He has committed himself to a course of action fundamentally at odds with participating in society in any reasonable fashion.

The transfiguration is probably the worst on the list, really. If Harry is lucid at the end of this chapter I expect there will be so... (read more)

He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.

Not that it were very important, but actually Harry told Dumbledore to keep the patronus secret, not the other way around.

Also, merely seeing the Patronus isn't the problem. Understanding it is.

I actually expected Harry to cast the Killing Curse as a last ditch desperation/rage effort. He knew what it does, has seen the wand movements and pronounciation (in the Dementor dream), knew and had the required state of mind. That should be enough to cast it, as per Ch26 ("He is in his sixth year at Hogwarts and he cast a high-level Dark curse without knowing what it did.").

6BlackNoise8yHarry may have had the mood, but there's doubt about the Power, and there's also been multiple foreshadows of how broken low-level spells are, and a recent mention that he's he can't stop himself from noticing them. Hence "censors off".

Or has Dumbledore found it so useful to carry a large rock around that "get a big rock, keep it with you at all times" is in the top five things he'd tell his younger self if he ever got the chance? Seriously -- the fuck?

The obvious interpretation of this is that spellcasting is a skill like any other, and practice develops it. By giving Harry an implausibly large object to carry, and then having him interact with the Transfiguration professor, Dumbledore can be fairly confident that Harry will try to transfigure the rock into something more reasonable to have in constant physical contact with him. This constant transfiguration practice will help Harry level up his abilities, and a huge rock is predictably useful in combat situations.

Here's a short list of rules violations:

He also showed off his unique partial transfiguration trick during combat, which Dumbledore was hoping he would save for the Final Battle.

He threw the troll's head over the wall, so its well away from anyone who could breathe in the gases, and a simple bubble-head charm should solve the problem. Given that the alternative was being eaten, he won't be punished for it (also, the most important thing is keeping partial transfiguration secret - other students would be told that Dumbledore killed the troll).

The twins were going to try to rescue Hermione anyway.

The twins will probably agree to keep the patronus secret.

While Harry and the twins did break a rule which was said to result in expulsion, they did almost save Hermione, which is more that the staff did. Expelling them would lose even more face then failing to follow through on a threat of expulsion would. Maybe McGonnigal will admit that when it comes to military matters, her students know more then she does. Maybe in future emergencies the 7th year generals will be able to countermand the orders of professors.

[EDIT: formatting]

5loserthree8y-Downvoted for poor formatting.- -Please use carriage returns to separate your thoughts.- Edit: Thanks! (Upvoted for responding.)
3fractalman8yTrolls already use continuous transformation on themselves; to find a needle in a haystack with a magnent, you first have to suspect there is a needle. Harry's partial transfiguration attempt(did that happen or...?) is probably more like a needle in a haystack of troll-magic. The only people who I think could spot it without knowing what they're looking for...already know about partial transfiguration. Edit: and then Dumbledore finite's the acid to prevent transfig. sickness. any chance of anyone else figuring it out by looking at the magic involved will be looking for a needle without a magnent.
3Fhyve8yThere is no way Harry would get expelled. He is at Hogwarts for his protection - to be close to Dumbledore - not so that he can go to school.
3Dentin8yI can't imagine that Harry, after having been through this event, gives even one iota of a shit about any of those things. When you declare war on the underlying fabric of reality, petty things like dark wizards, magical castles, and star systems really just aren't relevant in the grand scheme of things.
5[anonymous]8yThat's easy to say if you're not in the heat of battle. Declaring war on the fabric of reality has a lot more to it than simply ignoring its footsoldiers, and doing so is a bad strategy. An unfortunate (or possibly fortunate?) feature of the current fabric of reality is that super-sentiment doesn't give you super-power.
3robryk8yI wouldn't worry about transfiguration sickness: breathing sulphuric acid is probably worse than breathing atomized(?) troll brain matter, and AFAIK sulphuric acid and its salts are either directly harmful or aren't absorbed anywhere interesting in a human. Now that you've pointed this out, I'm curious: why sulphuric acid? Hydrochloric is simpler.

But for your reasoning upthread to work, Harry has to be so sure that the outpouring of magic carried all the information about Hermione that it's not worth it to him to try and protect her brain, and with (a) his protestations that brain damage means that the information must be in the brain and (b) there not being a shred of evidence that I can remember off the top of my head that Muggles require any magic to run (in which case witches/wizards' brains/souls would presumably have to work completely differently from Muggles), I don't think Harry is at a point where he can conclude that the chance of reviving her by saving the body is so low that he should concentrate his efforts on chasing her souly-looking emanation of magic.

8Qiaochu_Yuan8yFair point.

Since he traveled there because he sensed her death, that's neither surprising nor contrived.

4Decius8yDIdn't Malfoy have to die slowly, because the wards on the castle detect serious injury?
7ArisKatsaris8yI think that's true, but I'd lean towards this discrepancy being a plot-point rather than a plot-hole.

The Headmaster can feel when a student dies in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up the moment Hermione died.

But the Headmaster can also feel when a creature unknown to Hogwarts is in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up when Harry rejected his phoenix.

But so why didn't Dumbledore feel the troll and intercept it much sooner? I expect before long the Dumbledore-haters — both those in the story and those on Less Wrong and Reddit — will latch on to this as proof that Dumbledore has been evil all along.

The problem is, we know a thing or two about Hogwarts's wards by now. We know, for instance, that Salazar Slytherin was the one who wove them:

or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself.

Salazar Slytherin's wards. Salazar Slytherin, who left a basilisk that knew all his secrets. Secrets that Quirrellmort now knows.

Dumbledore will try to tell the wizarding world that the only explanation of Hermione's death is that Voldemort was behind the attack. This will be seen by the world as the same thing Headmaster Dippet actually did when Myrtle died: the accusation of an unlikely — "preposterous!" — scapegoat.

And now, Lucius... (read more)

Lucius is going to be outraged and lead an opposition to Dumbledore because the attempted murderer of his son, who he tried to send to Azkaban for 10 years, got killed in Hogwarts? I think that would seem a bit odd to everyone involved.

Lucius has means of his own, and had every reason to arrange Hermione's death.

6Intrism8yThe Headmaster was off campus; it's not necessarily true that he can access all the Hogwarts wards from off campus. He did notice when Hermione died, but considering the giant soulsplosion it's likely that this was somewhat more obvious to him than a wards violation. Furthermore, considering the timing of his absences, it's likely that Dumbledore was off hunting Horcruxes - an excellent opportunity, therefore, for Quirrell to lure Dumbledore into a trap to induce magical radio silence. Politically speaking, it makes no sense for Dumbledore to kill Hermione. Even the Daily Prophet would have a hard time spinning that particular story. The Wizengamot's response to the death of Draco Malfoy's supposed assassin and Lucius Malfoy's hated enemy will not, no matter the circumstances, be to flock to Lucius' side. It would, however, still reflect very badly on Dumbledore; obviously, mountain trolls should not show up in schools, and the responsibility for preventing such things lies with him.
875th8yI think you're being generous to the wizarding public. Lucius Malfoy can probably prove — the Hogwarts wards can possibly prove — that neither Lucius nor Draco has been in Hogwarts for quite some time. It won't be too hard for Lucius to say the better-written equivalent of "Regardless of my personal feelings for Miss Granger, I would never besmirch House Malfoy by reneging in such brutal fashion on a matter of House honor. The question at hand is this: how could Dumbledore not have known the troll was in Hogwarts? And if he did know, where was he during the attack? If you would like to propose that Dumbledore and I were in collusion on the matter — well, I'm sure a simple show of hands will make clear how likely this assembly is to believe that." Not too hard for Lucius to talk his way out of. Very much harder for Dumbledore. EDIT: I agree that not all of Hogwarts's wards are necessarily available to Dumbledore off-campus. But the mechanisms of these two wards have been described identically: Poof, he appears, and says "I felt X". I wouldn't assume by default that two wards that function identically would differ in such an important aspect. DOUBLE EDIT: It could easily be said that it makes political sense for Dumbledore to kill Hermione, as an attempt to frame Lucius. But then, if Dumbledore doesn't actually speak up against Lucius… It is complicated. But I still think Dumbledore is in trouble, just from the perspective of Eliezer taking a more serious, realistic look at events from canon.
3Intrism8yHonestly, I think you're the one overestimating the Wizarding public. The arguments from the wards aren't bad ones, necessarily, but they're technical ones. They won't play well. At best, they'll turn into conspiracy theories. Most of the public is going to look at the scene and see Lucius triumphant and Dumbledore with a black eye, and make the obvious conclusion. It will still be basically the same in front of the Wizengamot. Having Hermione killed under his own protection means trouble for Dumbledore - it would be the second major security incident at Hogwarts in less than a month, and the first student killed in fifty years. It's not an impossible black eye for Dumbledore to overcome, and he could surely take it if necessary. But... Dumbledore doesn't have a compelling reason to take the hit. Framing Lucius is not an especially good motive, particularly considering that half of the Wizengamot cares not one whit about Hermione Granger's life or death. And, if he did want her dead, he could have avoided the fallout by sending her home over Spring Break with a snake in her trunk. The technical argument... is still a bit above the Wizengamot. They might understand, "well, because of the wards this should have been impossible," but this will translate to "Lucius Malfoy found a way to trick Dumbledore's magic" and not "Hmm. Should Lucius Malfoy and his hired help really be in the same weight class as the Founders' wards?" Finally, you're assuming that Lucius wants to clear his name. I don't think this makes very much sense, either. Sure, it's bad PR in many circles, but Lucius already has a horrible reputation, and I don't expect he'll be terribly concerned. On the other hand, killing a student right under Dumbledore's nose would be an excellent show of force, and it would impress people that he cares rather more about. It might be exactly what he needs, in fact - I imagine his credibility took quite a hit when Hermione Granger managed to escape punishment for an

I haven't visited these threads for nearly a year; please forgive me if someone else has shared a similar prediction in the meantime.

I predict that Quirrell's goal is to start a war between magical people and non-magical people.

The student armies have been taught combat skills, organization, and discipline but they have not been indoctrinated. The text does not show that the student armies have been guided toward one faction or another within Magical Britain. Quite the opposite, they have been taught to work together across the 'house' lines that may have divided them in the past.

It would be counter-productive to prepare tools that could be as easily used by your enemies as yourself. So we may reason that all members of the student armies are already on the side Quirrell wants them on. One thing all members of the student armies have in common is that they are members of Magical Britain.

I have found nothing to suggest international tensions, so a war against another magical nation would be out of place in the text, as I understand it.

On the other hand, Quirrell had a downright emotional reaction when Harry declared his aspiration to be a scientist in chapter 20. After the end,... (read more)

I think Quirrell wants the leader of the magical side to be Harry rather than himself. Quirrell doesn't seem to recognize that Harry would side with the non-magical side instead. (Harry has noted some peculiarities in Quirrell's model of the world on several occasions, and based on Quirrell being both a Robin Hanson stand-in and Voldemort I suspect those peculiarities can be summarized as Quirrell failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love.")

Quirrell doesn't seem to recognize that Harry would side with the non-magical side instead. (Harry has noted some peculiarities in Quirrell's model of the world on several occasions, and [...] I suspect those peculiarities can be summarized as Quirrell failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love.")

Agree that Quirrell doesn't recognize this; agree that Quirrell's model is peculiar in failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love"; disagree that the latter is the reason for the former. I don't think Quirrell would be wrong in predicting that even many Muggleborns will join him.

I haven't been following these threads enough to know whether it's even worth spelling out the obvious theory of what the "power the Dark Lord knows not" is in the Verresverse, but it seems pretty clear that it's neither "love" as in canon nor "science" as Harry suggests (and Snape disputes) in Ch. 86, but Harry's belief that a good future can actually be made to happen (and is worth fighting for), i.e. an interstellar transhumanist rationalist ethical civilization that has left death behind. That may not sound like "power", ... (read more)

5DanielLC8yIn other words, the power the Dark Lord knows not is hope.

I don't think it can be usefully summarized into one punchy word (ETA: I don't think hope is quite the right way to describe what Quirrellmort is missing that's preventing him from creating and ruling over an intergalactic dark empire), but now that I thought for one minute about which one I would choose if I had to pick one, it would be one that doesn't at first brush sound like it fits into that slot at all:

The power the Dark Lord knows not is ambition.

9ikrase8yThe power the Dark Lord Knows Not is optimism?
6wedrifid8yAfter thinking about this for a minute I have to confirm my first impression: This is nonsense. The Dark Lord knows craptons of ambition. Any definition of 'ambition' for which the Dark Lord does not know it is a ridiculous definition. And if we're talking about Quirrellmort we've even heard him share his ambitions. Maybe he has somewhat less ambition than Harry but that's not sufficient for the claim to be reasonable.
9Benya8y*shrugs* So my opinion is that when one ambition is so much greater that the other isn't even distinguishable from zero unless you plot them on a log scale, it makes poetic sense to call the Dark Lord "not ambitious", even though I of course agree that Quirrellmort is ambitious compared to the median human. But if you don't agree that this is poetically appropriate, sure, fine. (I'll recall my disclaimer that I don't actually think that it makes sense to use just a single word to describe the concept -- seriously trying to do that strikes me as trying to make the discussion compliant with Dumbledorian thought-by-cliché.)

Is there more to be said about Quirrell being a Robin Hanson stand-in? Was this covered in another thread? Does anyone have handy links to the relevant posts?

7Qiaochu_Yuan8yWell, it was mentioned in this comment thread [http://lesswrong.com/lw/gzj/overcoming_bias_guy_meme_quickmeme/8lx9], and I thought it made a lot of sense.
7loserthree8yThanks. My infatuation with Quirrell might have faded a bit due to inactivity, but that thread has mortally wounded it. This Hanson guy is so deeply unmarketable that he made me stop liking a fictional character that might have been based on him. The part where he marginalizes the suffering of rape victims and that fact that this site still associates with him solidifies the "Less Wrong is not a place I can bring people" feeling I've kind of struggled with for a couple years now. That's two cringe-inducing passages of text in one day. Honestly, I liked the one where Hermione died better.

Robin often displays unusual confusions. I think that stems from a reliance on his explicit memory over implicit memory. If he doesn't have a theory to account for why society fails to distinguish songs by whether their lyrics are fictional, as we do with literature, then he considers that a puzzle to solve, even if he's never wanted society to draw that category to aid him in selecting songs.

So when Robin asks, "Why do we appear to value X more than Y", he's not making any claim about how he feels about X and Y. He disregards his feelings and intuitions, because they would mask opportunities to improve his explicit, formal, verbal, theoretical understanding.

This distinction between questions as a tool to point out when the audience is wrong and as a tool of apolitical inquiry closely mirrors the difference between questions as requests for favors and questions as inquiries. It's also similar to questions as argumentative challenges vs questions as inquiries.

Had you not heard of Robin Hanson before, and are you now basing your opinion of him largely on that thread? I think this is a bad way to get an accurate impression of a person.

3loserthree8yI'd heard of him, of course. I'd never followed up. Naïvely, I didn't think I needed to. I'm basing my opinion of the penalty for being thought to associate with him based on a number of posts he made that were linked in that thread. The one about rape is the one that is likely to stick with me, The creepy face he makes in the picture doesn't help. To the sort of people with whom I aspire to keep company, insensitivity on certain topics signals lack of status, a lack of class. In coarser terms, he stepped in it. Then he went back to step in it again. When his steps were criticized he defended the quality of his shoes. I don't want to walk on the carpets he wiped it on.

Disliking Hanson is not about....

7Eugine_Nier8yI think a question you should be asking yourself is why are you aspiring to keep company with people who would insist that you not associate with a website merely because it associates with someone who has politically incorrect ideas?
3loserthree8yI suppose there might be success to be had, here. There might be network opportunities. There might be opportunities for friendship and other things I value. But the bar to entry is too high. I don't have a strong academic background. I was once close to math. I'd hold up two cross fingers and say, "Like this." But years, decades have come between us. My only education in philosophy is by proxy. I don't mean to paint a picture without hope, I'm a bright guy. I could maybe catch up if I applied myself, if I worked at it, if I let some other things slide for a while. I just mean to turn it around. I ask myself why I keep company with people who don't recognize how socially toxic it is to marginalize the suffering of rape victims. I ask myself if it is enough that they are one of many groups who espouse a form of self-improvement. Could it ever be enough? I suppose it's because the author of HP&tMoR is here, and might respond to someone's post on the topic. And I suppose it helps, too that no one has to know I'm here, participating. You guys really fail on the outreach. I hope that one day each and every one of you that hurts this community in that way understands the role you play in undoing something nice that could have been something beautiful. I admit to being evil, and am unashamed to look forward to your suffering.

You guys really fail on the outreach.

Um, LW is growing very well, thank you. In fact at this point I'm more worried about the 'unwilling to consider controversial ideas due to signaling' failure mode than the 'stop growing due to being too controversial' failure mode.

6wedrifid8yOr perhaps in this case we excel at screening.
[-][anonymous]8y 18

If you don't take some time to explore Robin Hanson's ideas in good faith you will miss out on a lot. What you see as a weakness is in fact his great strength as a rationalist. "Curiosity about humans and unconstrained by social norms." You may object, saying that you don't mind this, but any such response basically boils down to "I like X when it isn't too X."

The red flags aren't there because he is unaware of their existence. Indeed I bet Hanson can win quite well at social games. They are there because he systematically relies on his explicit/theoretical rather than implicit knowledge to expose where the gaps of the former are and then tries hard to fill them.

[-][anonymous]8y 13

Driving away people who are going to care more about social status signaling than about rationality is a feature, not a bug.

That path will lead you and any you influence to isolation and obscurity.

If you seek only to better yourself then that monastic sort of approach might actually help you out. But if you want to change the world you need to first change your attitude toward social status signaling.

8[anonymous]8ySurely there are better ways to change the world then bringing more people into movements! I'm only tangentially involved with this rationality stuff, but I've gotten the impression that one of its great strengths is in bringing together a lot of very smart people, who can then go on to have more concrete impacts in other ways. If that's accurate, bringing in people who'd be scared off by Hanson would be actively detrimental to the goal of changing the world. What goals do you have that are better served by quantity than quality? (I have both goals that I need to think about quantity for and goals that I need to think about quality for. I try to keep them separate.)
3Decius8yHarry would be on his own side, and Quirrell would not be particularly welcome there even without the information Harry lacks.
8buybuydandavis8yDoesn't that sound a little familiar to you? Like there's someone around here like that?

Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. ... Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

A nice touch when Harry is fighting the troll: When he engages his killer instinct, from then on the troll is only referred to as the "enemy", in one case even with a capital E.

Interestingly, while Harry explicitly mentions "censors off" (concerning no more screening off of potential killing methods), that mode of thinking also engages other filters, dehumanizing (de-troll-izing) the creature he's fighting and only seeing it as "the Enemy".

4pedanterrific8yAnother nice touch: Quirrell's thoughts do the same.

Two interesting observations: The most recent utterances of the words "temporal pressure" (similar to the titles of these last two chapters) was in chapter 86 when discussing the Halls of Prophecy:

""The Hall of Prophecy," Minerva whispered. She'd read about that place, said to be a great room of shelves filled with glowing orbs, one after another appearing over the years. Merlin himself had wrought it, it was said; the greatest wizard's final slap to the face of Fate. Not all prophecies conduced to the good; and Merlin had wished for at least those spoken of in prophecy, to know what had been spoken of them. That was the respect Merlin had given to their free will, that Destiny might not control them from the outside, unwitting. Those mentioned within a prophecy would have an glowing orb float to their hand, and then hear the prophet's true voice speaking. Others who tried to touch an orb, it was said, would be driven mad - or possibly just have their heads explode, the legends were unclear on this point. Whatever Merlin's original intention, the Unspeakables hadn't let anyone enter in centuries, so far as she'd heard. Works of the Ancient Wizards had st

... (read more)

I was under the impression that "temporal pressure" referred to some kind of mysterious Fate-like force that occasionally compels seers to release prophecies when important parts of the future gets resolved. That could just be Harry's new resolve to do anything necessary to get Hermione back (in addition to "time pressure" meaning the pressure he was under to get to Hermione on time). Is there a particular reason the "fracturing feeling" needs to be externally imposed rather than, y'know, a perfectly reasonable emotional reaction to current events?

On the other hand, Eliezer has mentioned that he wants to go through common tropes but do them better. He hasn't really done a full-blown Peggy Sue yet, although he's poked fun at the idea, and I'm pretty sure I remember Eliezer saying that he's read Harry Potter and the Wastelands of Time, which is a Peggy Sue fic in which Harry finds Atlantis and weird things happen involving time, so... (recommended for the awesome ideas, but if you're like me you'll get annoyed by the way Harry talks.)

5loup-vaillant8yEliezer I think the facts at least are as described. Hermione is certainly lying in a pool of blood, something significant did happen to her (Harry felt the magic), and Dumbeldore definitely believe Hermione is dead. If there is a time turner involved, it won't change those perceptions one bit, And I doubt Dumbeldore would try too Mess With Time ever again (as mentioned in the Azkaban arc). Harry might, but he's out of his Time Turner Authorized Range. Even then, it looks like he's thinking longer term than that.

Although I'm not at all sure it was deliberate (is there a way to submit potential typos?), we may have just gotten some new evidence about the true nature of magic. In Ch 89 Fred/George cast a spell solely from the memory of seeing Dumbledore cast it ("Deligitor prodi"), got the incantation wrong ("Deligitor prodeas"), and yet still achieved an (apparently) identical effect (The summoning of the Sorting Hat). It appears that if this is legitimate evidence rather than a typo, magic has an error bound for the correct pronunciation of spells.

"Prodi" is the imperative ("come forth"), "prodeas" is the subjunctive (here used in supplication, for which there is no precise English translation; perhaps "wouldst thou come forth").

Which itself suggests something quite interesting about the nature of incantations... unless it's not actually an incantation, just talking to Hogwarts in Latin.

3somervta8yWell, in the first usage, Dumbledore did seem to be addressing Hogwarts ("Hogwarts! Deligitor prodi"), so it's possible, but Fred/George didn't do that. I suppose it is possible that Eliezer just used the subjunctive form rather than the imperative accidentally, but I'm not sure if I want to count on that :D
7tim8yNote that this seems to contradict the glowing bat experiments performed in chapter 22.
5somervta8yIt may be that this is only true for some spells? Although, to be honest, I'm leaning towards it either being a typo or not an incantation, just communication with Hogwarts.
4JoshuaZ8yIf doing magic for more time makes one stronger (which seems to be a hypothesis taken seriously in HPMR), then it is possible that as one gets more powerful, the increased power can compensate for the incorrect pronunciation. In fact, this also may explain to some extent how less powerful witches and wizards can't cast some spells. In some cases it may be that the orally transmitted version of the spell is not quite right, but that doesn't matter as much for the more powerful spellcasters. A problem with this hypothesis is that one would then expect there to be weak spells which could only be cast by powerful mages and we haven't seen any indication of that.
3Eugene8yPoint against: Professor Whatsisname, the presumably quite-powerful dueling legend, learned/developed "Stuporfy", which is intentionally meant to sound almost exactly like "Stupify". If powerful wizards get a pass on their pronunciation, how is it that a powerful wizard can effectively differentiate those two similar spells when casting?

Oh, hmm. For some reason I thought Dumbledore's arrival was triggered by the wards. Gotcha.

Right; I'm using the wards triggering right then as evidence for the souls theory. In a souls world, it's easy to notice when souls exit the body (and set up wards to detect that), and hard to notice when souls are about to exit the body, so you can show up and suspend them or whatever. In a 'people are just computation' world, where you're able to read the computation from afar using magic, a ward that notices "Hermione's not alive anymore!" would require tech that could be used to build a ward that notices "Hermione's going into shock!", which would be a much more useful ward to have.

[edit] I didn't fully remember the wards from the Draco Incident, where they could detect injury. So either there are multiple levels of wards and the injury ward was disabled (or set to death), Dumbledore didn't respond to the injury alarm but did respond to the death alarm (reasonable, if he's somewhere else important, and the Deputy present at the castle would have already known the troll was around and have the castle in high alert by the time Hermione was attacked if she was attacked after Filch's alert), there's a continuity break, or something I'm missing.

Good point, but I'm not sure if the wards triggered right then: Dumbledore said he felt Hermione die, not that the wards alerted him that Hermione died. During the Draco fiasco various characters say the wards are triggered to detect rapid harm to students, which is why they didn't detect the blood-cooling charm (although you'd think that means the wards would have detected what happened to Hermione sooner...). The implication is that if someone hadn't discovered Draco he would have died without the wards detecting it, or at least that's what it sounded like to me.

6gwern8yWe don't even know Dumbledore was in the castle, as I understand it. Ch88: If he's not even at Hogwarts, that seems like it renders it difficult to infer anything from when he shows up since any delay or argument-from-silence could just as well be due to it taking time to phoenix-fire back from whereever and then repoint himself.

The wards triggering right then is evidence mostly that somebody is messing with the wards, based on their previous description as being set to trigger on "sudden injury".

The clear intent of the Blood-Cooling Charm had been to kill Draco Malfoy so slowly that the wards of Hogwarts, set to detect sudden injury, would not trigger.

3Jurily8yOr that since she ran for sunlight, she wasn't inside Hogwarts technically, therefore the wards didn't pick up her injury. We already have proof the attacker expected her to do that. Which would also explain her last words.

After devising a plan for a GNU world order, it's only logical to take the next step up into resilient W2W (Wizard-to-Wizard) networks: add a clause ordering Imperiused wizards to re-infect every 100th wizard they meet. This random crosslinking will convert the efficient yet fragile pyramidal hierarchy into a robust distributed graph.

Most of the plans to use time turning to fix this are massively overly complicated, by the way. Best bet is to swap the oxygenating potion for something which will make her death less permanent.

Which Harry can find or have made in < 6 hours.

Options: 1: Elixir of life. The stone is at hand, Snape is at hand. It is possible that shout is what taking it looks like. 2: Undeath. The potter verse does have vampires, and they are integrated in magical society at least to the extent that seeing one in a bad neighborhood is not grounds for an auror raid. Werewolf infection might also do it. 3: Draught of living death?

I'm ruling that MoR!Vampirism does not indefinitely extend life or Voldemort would be a vampire (HPN20), similarly werewolves do not regenerate or Moody would be a werewolf.

7Izeinwinter8yWell, at this precise moment Harry cares rather a lot more about moving her out of the "Dead" state than he does about rendering her immortal, so if vampires have a finite lifespan, that is not an unacceptable drawback at this particular juncture. (.. and would outright be an advantage if it means she gets out of being stuck at age 12. Not that having her stuck at age 12 would stop Harry. That can be fixed when he is not staring down a 6 hour timer) Further upsides; keeping her rising on the quiet would shield her from repeated attempts at ending her, if he can swing that. Likely downsides: 1:Feeding. But there has to be an acceptable solution to that, or the magical community would not tolerate vampires at all. On the other hand, the wizarding world generally fails ethics 101 very badly, so maybe they are just all hypnotizing people into being faux-willing donors. 2:Might no longer count as a witch. Giving her the brick powerset of a stereotypical vamp would be a hilarious mismatch for her personality. That all assumes vampires have continuity of personality with who they were, but if that is not the case I would be somewhat puzzled why they are tolerated. Also, that turning her is workable. If the process of becoming a vampire takes a year and a day or requires her to die from a vampire bite..
3Eugine_Nier8yDon't werewolves have the "go psychopath once a month" problem?
4gwern8yNothing to do with psychopaths, but regardless: it is predictable, medically treatable in canon, and also easily neutralized by ordinary mechanisms of confinement. If that were a method of immortality, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
2NancyLebovitz8yIf you ran the numbers, would regeneration from injury at the cost of losing human thought for three days a month* actually be worth it for most people? So far as I know, being a werewolf doesn't help with aging. I'm not sure if there's a default for whether it helps with illness. *more or less. I think that some versions only become wolves at night.
2gwern8yI did say it'd be a complete no-brainer for immortality, but if we rule that out... In HP it's just one night, IIRC (discussed in Azkaban). Regeneration from injury is probably not worth sacrificing 1/60th of a life (month has 30 days, you lose a night from a day, hence 1/60), but it is probably worth chugging the wolfsbane potion depending on costs. If being a werewolf fended against generic disease, not just injury, then it'd resume being a complete nobrainer.

Wild Mass Guessing (that I don't believe in, but would be cool):

When Hermione fought Draco, and cast the Blood-Chilling charm on him with intent to kill, Hat-And-Cloak!Quirrell activated the spell to create a Horcrux of Hermione, which he can now use to blackmail Harry.

That would imply that only an attempted murder can create a horcrux. With the right self-delusion or whatever, one might be able to mass-produce horcruxes and train an army capable of ruthless action at the same time.

7DanArmak8yDumbledore believes an actual murder is needed to create a Horcrux. And as far as we know, he is right, unfortunately.
2GeorgieChaos8yWhat I'm puzzled by is the paralell between the violent use of magical cooling against Draco & the preservative use of it on Hermione.

The assailant in question introduced a troll through the school wards, enchanted it to resist sunlight, disabled Hermione's cloak & broom, arranged for it to be in the same part of the castle, made the troll eat Hermione's legs to disable her portkey toering, and is apparently responsible for Fred & George no longer having the Marauder's Map which real-time locates every student in the school.

Seriously? Of course the attacker (Quirrel) knew she wasn't in the hall.

When asked to find Hermione, why would Harry's Patronus have found a simulacrum instead of the real one?

3Alsadius8yBecause the real Hermione was under an invisibility cloak ten feet away. (Not saying this is how it happened, but it does explain that part of the riddle)

I'm mildly surprised no-one has speculated on what Harry will do next. He won't accept that Hermione is dead, and I'm guessing that it will occur to him that transfiguring her into a steel ball and then freezing it (I'm pretty sure there's a spell for that) provides a quick and easy form of cryonics, which as an added bonus bypasses the problem of ice crystal formation.

How to resurrect her is the tricky bit.

[-][anonymous]8y 11

I would nominate the Blood-Cooling Charm as a convenient and adequately-foreshadowed first response. Like packing a recently-deceased patient in ice, that will buy her enough time until she can be properly cryopreserved. That is, literally stuffed in the fridge. One of the FFnet reviewers had it right: this chapter was an epic troll.

ETA: Gah! Bleugh. There's just no getting rid of the taste of a wrong prediction. It's like a mouth full of soy sauce.


What exactly does this mean? Both Quirrel and Harry Potter are already here. Sirius no longer seems feasible for this.

Possibly it refers to the new personality-state of Harry which Quirrel just sensed? I suspect that Harry has just succeeded what he failed to do in Azkaban: to fuse his normal self with the grim and ardently indomitable dark side.

Prediction 1: Soon, Harrry will do something somewhat clearly allegorical to FOOMed super AI. Alternatively, Prediction 2: Instead, Harry will be incredibly badass (I.e, Quirrel's equal) more conventionally. Prediction 3: Harry will be able to get some real resources finally. He might somehow get enough mana to pull off Quirrelesque blasting, or find a creative/technological-seeming way to provide it. Prediction 4: Harry's involvement in

The version starting with "HE IS COMING" was given the same chapter and same day that Harry and Draco formed the Bayesian Conspiracy.

Horrible half-prophecies occurred when Harry pondered the distinction between ruthless war and the superhero's quest to save everyone. Th... (read more)

Harry could disassemble the world and the stars into computronium - in fact star-lifting crossed his mind when he heard the first part of the prophecy. EY stated that there would be no AI analogy, and magical intelligence amplification seems more plausible anyway.

A different route to a mini-foom is that one can make luck potions. Then gamble, get money, recruit people who know how to make potions. Now you have huge amounts of luck potion, and provided your thought process is fairly random, you will always find the right answer (e.g. opening a random book at a random page happens to provide exactly the right insight). Routes to magical IA:

Luck potions.

A thinking hat - like the sorting hat, only it uses your brainpower to help you solve problems.

Efficient use of memory charms to spread insights rapidly through a group of researchers.

Use of telepathy to create a group mind.

Potion of thinking, made of e.g. ground-up crossword puzzles.

8ikrase8yPotion of... OH CRUD. Buy supercomputer time to solve problems in some physical form. Melt printouts into potion. Foom.

Possibility: Normal harry and his Dark Side have now merged (or Harry has lost his restraint to the extent the distinction is irrelevant). This new Harry has all his abilities and none of his previous restraint and is effectively a new person, with the expressly stated intention of changing the world that now exists to the extent it is effectively destroyed.

Secondary possibility: The current 'world' will end because Harry is going to somehow turn back time and destroy thus timeline in its entirety.

8RobertLumley8yEliezer has stated that nothing in HPMOR is allegory for AI. I don't have a source for the quote, but I remember it very clearly, because it surprised me.
4linkhyrule58ySomething to note - A Singularity, of whatever kind, is generally held (citation needed) to be the point at which a pre-Singularity being can make no useful predictions about a post-Singularity being, usually due to runaway growth of intelligence. It is very much a metaphorical "end of the world" for a pre-Singularity being, and prophecies are nothing if not metaphorical.
[-][anonymous]8y 10

Something to note - A Singularity, of whatever kind, is generally held [...]

Not around these parts.

Something else interesting, from Chapter 84:

The old wizard nodded in affirmation. "If any hostile magic is cast on her, or any spirit touches her, I shall know, and come."

Grievous bodily injury, unfortunately, is not covered under that warranty.


also a toe-ring with an emergency portkey to a safe location

Now I guess we know why it started with her legs.

4DanArmak8yThe portkey would only work if she was taken outside Hogwarts.

Legs eaten off at the thighs! For some reason this stuff reminds me of the fight scene from the fifth Twilight movie. Here's a great video review describing that scene, it really brought a smile to my face.

7ChrisHallquist8yThat was funny, but I'd like to defend Breaking Dawn part II on the grounds of: * A clever demonstration of using superpowers to resolve conflict non-violently * A clever demonstration of how precognition in particular is a complete game-breaker (Note that I say this from the perspective of only having read the first book, and not seen any of the other movies.)
7lukeprog8yThat video review made me laugh pretty hard. Thanks.
8MalcolmOcean8yI'm upvoting both of you because I probably wouldn't have watched the review without the second "it's worth watching," and I'm glad I watched it.
4Alejandro18yAnd now I upvoted all three of you, for the same reason.
4MalcolmOcean8yI was hoping that would happen ;)

It's like a karma Ponzi scheme!

I can't tell whether you mean "this was clichéd and bad writing" or "this made me sad" or maybe even "letting a female character die to motivate a male character is sexist."

1) I did not choose the sex of the characters in this story. Rowling created the roles and assigned them sexes and everything else follows from those roles. If canon!Harry was female, this story would be about Harriet.

2) Hermione is not some random girlfriend who gets stuffed into a fridge. Things that happen to main characters do not turn into fridge deaths because they are female.

[-][anonymous]8y 18

dthunt is right. The prominence a female character has in the storyline before her death doesn't really affect whether it is or isn't a fridging. What matters is whether her death is a narratively appropriate end to her story and character arc, or whether her death primarily serves to motivate a male hero and further his heroic journey. (See http://www.feministfrequency.com/2011/04/tropes-vs-women-2-women-in-refrigerators/ for a full discussion.)

Hermione's death was a textbook fridging. That's not to say that it's automatically offensive or sexist or whatever: like TVTropes says, tropes are not bad, tropes are tools. But yes, Hermione's death is a classic fridge death.

Your summary is a much better definition of 'fridging' than the one which appears on TV Tropes and should probably be added there, since TV Tropes is where I went to look up 'fridging' whereupon I was much puzzled by the accusations. But as the application of your definition deals with future events within HPMOR, rather than things which have already happened inside the story, I cannot comment further.

3[anonymous]8yNow I'm optimistic that in some sense Hermione's story is not yet complete :)
[-][anonymous]8y 17

Someone doesn't become a main character just because you write from her POV and pin a literal Hero badge to her chest. You gave her toy problems to challenge, children to fight, and then killed her off before she found something to protect or accomplished anything of note, just to motivate the real, male main character. She's a fridge death.

...unless and until she returns from the dead, in which case you'll have used her death to motivate her. Gosh, I'm embarrassed to have forgotten that death doesn't have to be forever. Even the introduction of the Blood-Cooling Charm wasn't enough of a clue.

6Alsadius8yShe died at age twelve. There's a limit to how much she could have accomplished - frankly, we're well past the point where accomplishments of preteens are straining the suspension of disbelief in this story, I'm just accepting it on the grounds that any story is entitled to one ludicrous premise.
9dthunt8yThe trope requires 2 things: 1) The woman winds up in the refrigerator (check) 2) It happens because someone is explicitly trying to get at somebody else, thus disempowering the victim, or that it serves as an empty source of motivation for a character. (???). As readers, we don't necessarily have confidence in criterion #2, here. Other commentators have come up with various plausible-sounding explanations for how the deed went down (sunlight resistant troll lures Hero-Hermoine to a place where her injuries can't be detected, and systematically removes all of her defenses). So, let's posit that the troll is a weapon explicitly sent to kill Hermoine. The important question is who and why? If it's to get a rise out of Harry, that's it falls under the common heading of the trope. If it's Mr Malfoy trying to get revenge for the destroyer of his son's reputation, it doesn't. I think as readers it's difficult at this stage to be confident about these things. Let's say, however, that Hermoine is the woman in the refrigerator. The road to get there had her basically kicking ass and taking names the whole way there; I'm not inclined to necessarily cry foul because of it.
4Ritalin8yWell, forgive me for overstating my point in a state of emotional frustration, anguish, anger, disappointment, and just plain loathing. No, it is technically not correct to call this Fridge Stuffing. Nevertheless, the fact is that my willing suspension of disbelief is broken, and that I find that my anger is directed at you rather than at the Universe or the Rules or Fate or whatever forces make the death of a beloved main character acceptable. My brain rejects this. I've never, in my life, until now, felt like declaring a piece of fiction DisContinuity, but this is exactly how I'm feeling now. If she had died in Azkaban or from a Kiss or from a Malfoy-funded assassination, that would have perhaps felt better. But the lamest warmup boss of the canon? Offscreen? And making Harry arrive just too late? Not minutes too late, mind you, but right after the troll grabbed and crushed her? What, would just a few paragraphs of seeing the fight from her perspective have hurt? A sense of closure, perhaps, at least on her side?

If she had died in Azkaban or from a Kiss or from a Malfoy-funded assassination, that would have perhaps felt better. But the lamest warmup boss of the canon? Offscreen?

Isn't that the point, though? Hasn't that been the theme? That reality doesn't care about the narrative arcs that you make in your head? That at any time, the universe is allowed to kill you, your notion of the plot be damned? What you are feeling seems to be more or less the author's intention - the sign of a good story.

Mind you, if this was the real world. Harry would have found out about Hermione's death 2-3 days later, not dramatically just in time. From a realism perspective, there was way more closure than anyone ever actually gets when it comes to violent death.

I don't know why you think seeing the fight from her side would have made it feel better for you.

I think you're probably just mourning for the character and are angry at the cruelty of the story that depicts a cruel universe which lets people cruelly be murdered (just like our own). You're justifying your anger by talking about the particular details of the depiction -- but I think you're just bloody angry at the murder itself, like Harry is, not anything else.

If that's the case I think the story has been successful in making you feel Harry's anger, though you're misdirecting it. Authors that write honestly end up writing about the moral universe of consequences which they believe exists. An atheist like G.R.R. Martin couldn't write Lord of the Rings, and a Christian like Tolkien couldn't have written Game of Thrones. And this is the story that Eliezer Yudkowsky has to write.

Details like "in the canon the troll was much weaker" seriously shouldn't be affecting your emotional reaction, especially when it's clear that the troll has been boosted in power even in-story (so that it'd be impervious to sunlight), so it was clearly murder and targetted assassination, not just a random troll than randomly attacked Hermione.

5Ritalin8yGoT is absurdly dark, though. Things like that have happened in history, but not so compressed in time. After I found out about the Red Wedding, I gave up on the entire thing, I found myself completely losing interest. "I don't know why you think seeing the fight from her side would have made it feel better for you." I anticipate that I would. If I had to venture a hypothesis as to why, I'd guess that I would have shared her struggle, her despair, and her eventual acceptance of death. Part of me would have struggled, failed, and died with her. Inability to help oneself is much more acceptable than inability to help others. And, of course, seeing the fight from her perspective would have given me time to get it into my skull that she really was going to die, before she did.

GoT is absurdly dark, though. Things like that have happened in history, but not so compressed in time.

This is historically inaccurate. GoT is fairly accurate for the time period depicted (it is based loosely on the War of the Roses). It is practically lighthearted compared to the vast majority of human history.

After I found out about the Red Wedding, I gave up on the entire thing, I found myself completely losing interest.

The Red Wedding, like most of GoT, is based on a historical analogy with the War of the Roses. Specifically, it is a combination of the Battle of Heworth Moor, where a wedding party was warned in advance of an ambush and managed to hire enough mercenaries to survive, and the Black Dinner, where the leaders of a clan were invited to dinner, then slaughtered.

I thought it was a neat bit of subversion where something that would be a joke speed bump mid-boss in Industry Standard Storytelling ends up straight up killing you instead because things work more like reality here and it's ten times as big as you and made of magic.

9derefr8yWould you want to give the reader closure for the arc of a character who is, as the protagonist states, going to be coming back to life? Personally, this reminds me more than anything of Crono's death in Chrono Trigger. Nobody mourns him--mourning is something to do when you don't have control over space and time and the absolute resolve to harness that control. And so the audience, also, doesn't get a break to stop and think about the death. They just hurl themselves, and their avatar, face-first into solving it.
6CAE_Jones8yI got the strong impression that there was more contrived there (in-universe) than the simple matter of the troll catching Hermione when she was out. The amount of time that passes between Harry injecting her and Dumbledore's arrival doesn't seem to be long enough for the effects of the oxygenation to fail. (Will have to reread / research brain death to be sure I'm not jumping at shadows. It does seem that magic, at least, has concluded for sure that she's dead, and Harry doesn't seem likely to have time to save her even if magic is mistaken and she has a couple more minutes before her brain is irrepairably damaged (the time turner feats would be frankly badass if he could pull it off).) All of which leads me to believe that Quirrel (or whoever was behind it) took measures to make sure that there was no hope of saving her short of phoenix tears, unless they took precautions against even those, somehow.
6TimS8yAlternative explanation: Magic oxygenation shots don't work because the inventors did not understand biology, just like the inventors of broomsticks did not understand physics.
5bramflakes8yI'm feeling really confused at this comment. When I read the chapter I thought to myself "Oh. Hermione died. Big plot twist, what will the characters do next?" And not much more than that. I don't know whether I'm emotionally stunted but I find it extremely difficult to conceive of someone having such a visceral emotional reaction to a fictional character's death.
5NancyLebovitz8yI was wondering whether a lot of exposure to superhero comics could have that effect, since very little (nothing at all?) is permanent in them.
9Ritalin8yAll of the above, and more. He didn't just stuff her into the fridge after an entire story of not-measuring-up, and a chapter of bonding and future plans. He killed her off-screen, and then gave us false hope of saving her. And he has the gall to imply that this is Harry's fault for trying to be sensible, for expecting too much of normal people, and for not thinking to use his Patronus. It felt contrived, cruel, and uncaring. "Let's get her out of the way and give Harry a motivation" is the feeling one gets. It was fucking bridge-dropping, is what it was.

It is bridge dropping, and I love it. We are being given a taste of a dark rationalist, who does not give his enemies dramatic deaths where they get to die like heroes, perhaps accomplishing something through it. When a dark rationalist takes control of the story (or rather, starts to use the control over the story he's always had), the story becomes contrived, cruel and uncaring, as it should. It's realism.

We are being given a taste of a dark rationalist, who does not give his enemies dramatic deaths where they get to die like heroes, perhaps accomplishing something through it.

See also Fate/zero & Kuritsugu. And note that it's not just Hermione's death that is fast and cruel, it's the troll's too: Harry steps forward with the stone, stuffs it in, releases it to explode the head, and acidifies the brains in less time than it takes to type that.

Actually, there's a great rationality quote for here:

Getting caught up in style and throwing away victory is something for the lower ranks to do. Captains can't even think about doing such a carefree thing. Don't try to be a good guy. It doesn't matter who owes who. From the instant they enter into a war, both sides are evil.

And he has the gall to imply that this is Harry's fault for trying to be sensible

Harry thinks this. In general it's not a good idea to assume that authors agree with everything their characters think, and Eliezer has explicitly pointed this out on several occasions.


I think this was deliberate. Have you read the piece Eliezer wrote about his brother?

So there's already a resurrection ritual that Harry has heard about. Blood of an enemy, bone of the father, flesh of the servant. Can he find these things for Hermione?

Anyone else confused by the line in chapter 89:

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

On first reading I thought it was the as-of-yet-unnamed-but-totally-Hermione victim, which seemed odd, but on a third read I think it might be Harry, and the distance of the narration just a reflection of Harry's horror. Not sure, though.

8Tripitaka8yIn canon this ritual is used to give the Horcrux-preserved shadow of Voldemort a new body. His body has the shape of a human baby and is able to talk coherently; he reemerges after the ritual with a fullformed body. Hermione has got no Horcrux of her own, and is thus beyond the means of this resurrection ritual.
3MalcolmOcean8yBased on main canon, I don't have the sense that that resurrection ritual works for someone who's properly dead.

I'm bewildered at why Quirrel thinks he can get any particular result from Harry by having Hermione killed. Or is Quirrel assuming that Harry is now in a state where he can be manipulated reliably?

Quirrell thinks Harry will take the gloves off now and accomplish goals like gaining power without any hesitation. Whatever Quirrell is up to, it seems like he wants Harry to gain power. Quote:

He'd felt the fury the boy had directed at some annoyance who was likely Dumbledore; followed by an unknown resolution whose unyielding hardness even he found adequate. With any luck, the boy had just discarded his foolish little reluctances.

Recall that Harry said the following to Quirrell in Chapter 66:

"Lessson I learned is not to try plotss that would make girl-child friend think I am evil or boy-child friend think I am sstupid," Harry snapped back.

Those two obstacles to Harry trying plots have now conveniently been removed!

Some of the melodramatic parts have already been proven right:

You will die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Both of her legs were eaten by a troll before she died, and as she died, she whispered to Harry, "Not your fault." Check.

You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you.


Interesting that Harry uses his med pack he bought in anticipation of almost exactly the scenario which played out when he used it, except that Hermione absolves him instead of cursing him.

“One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, ‘Why weren’t you prepared?’ And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won’t ever forgive me—”

The detailed foreshadowing often seems like part of the story, not just as aspect of the story. What is said comes true much more than it should, and in much more detail than it should. "Bitten" is a very specific way to die.

You know, speaking of foreshadowing...

That very quote led into McGonagall's theory that Harry had suffered some kind of trauma and had it Obliviated. And then there was that business with the Remembrall in chapter 17. I'd have to go back and check for more instances of Harry specifically foreshadowing a future event like this, but more and more I'm beginning to think that Harry has forgotten or locked foreknowledge that's leaking into his subconscious.

But in Chapter 17, McGongall rejects the theory that remembralls detect Obliviation.

“More importantly, why did the Remembrall go off like that?” Harry said. “Does it mean I’ve been Obliviated?”

“That puzzles me as well,” Professor McGonagall said slowly. “If it were that simple, I would think that the courts would use Remembralls, and they do not. I shall look into it, Mr. Potter.” She sighed. “You can go now.”

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

This bothered me as well. It's a mysterious phenomenon that directly relates to Harry's own mental state. He should have been all over that.

5Alsadius8yDon't go making that second checkmark yet - we're still within the Time-Turner window here. (I'd put it at maybe 2% that he manages to save her - EY doesn't seem the type for cheap copouts like that - but that's still high enough for a bit of bet-heging)

It's not going to happen. You don't hang that much drama on an event if you intend to reverse it quickly, unless you're going for comedy, and comedy doesn't make sense in this context.

That said, if you'd asked me a day ago I would have said that there are too many dangling plot threads surrounding her for the story to do what it just did, so it's probably a good idea to adjust your confidence of predictions based on narrative mechanics appropriately.

3Alsadius8yLike I said, very low odds. But Eliezer is a clever guy, he could plausibly figure out some way of bringing her back without tripping off too many narrative bullshit detectors.

It sounds like you might be mistaking Eliezer's role in this, and mistaking your desires for desires we can reasonably assign to Eliezer.

This isn't something that happened to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger, this is something that Eliezer, the author did to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger.

He did it for a reason. He's almost certainly been planning it all along. If it made him sad then it first made him sad quite some time ago. He's not feeling the surprised dismay you have today.

He wanted this.

3Alsadius8yEdit: I just reread And now...well, I think the odds are below 1%. There's no elegant way to walk that back.

Well. That went poorly.

There isn't any reason to accept it, not when there's magic in the world.

Harry has direct sensory evidence that souls are real, but it doesn't look like that's updated his sense of what is and isn't possible yet. I feel more and more trepidation.

7DanielLC8yYou say that like having an immortal soul, a major part of your mind that can survive literally anything, would make it harder to revive the dead.
5Qiaochu_Yuan8yI'm not sure what this is referring to. Ghosts? Harry currently thinks those are magical echoes.
5Vaniver8yReread the event in question. (I'm trying to keep the start of my comments a little unspoilery, since they show up in the recent comments sidebar.) In the universe where souls do not exist and people are just electrical activity embodied in lipid computers, that description and it triggering Dumbledore's immediate arrival seem very unlikely. In the universe where souls do exist, it seems very likely.
5drethelin8yHe felt something "happen" when Hermione died and Dumbledore also confirmed it. It might just be a magical echo but it's definitely evidence for something like a soul.
6CAE_Jones8yThis is true, but without further investigation, it fails to distinguish the world where souls are independent from physical form from the world where souls are magical echoes/uploads/backups/etc. On that note, this would be one convenient time for Quirrel to drop in and say "Oh, by the way, that description of the Resurrection Stone you gave me turned up something interesting..."

Not quite the Red Wedding, but close.

Harry knows how smart Quirrell is, and he knows that if it occurred to him that the troll was an attempt on Hermione's life, it would have occurred to Quirrell instantly. We (and Harry) know that Quirrell said nothing to McGonagall, from which Harry will soon infer that Quirrell could have saved Hermione yet did nothing. (Which makes it likely, but not certain, that it was Quirrell who was behind the troll.) In either case Quirrell has reached a point, or is about to reach a point, in his sinister plan where it no longer matters (or perhaps even requires) that Harry take him as a mortal enemy.

Draco (and maybe even Lucius) will most likely infer from the troll incident that Hermoine was not the one who attacked him, and he will align himself with Harry in the coming Roaring Rampage of Revenge. I would not be surprised if Lesath Lestrange also made an appearance.

9Decius8yIt's also possible/likely that the Malfoy household is either involved, or believes that one of their allies is involved, in a revenge killing.

I'm tentative to make predictions here since, reading through comments, I consider you folks more grounded in rationality, logical thinking and also fictional predictions than me. But I wanted to share a thought and get feedback, so here goes.

My interpretation of the big magical release goes like this: Hermione's brain, experiences, knowledge, magical ability, etc., are programmed via the genetic magic marker to upload into... something. The Atlantean Neural Database, or something like that. We've got reason to believe that magic was artificially created and the genetic marker programmed into people, so that they are capable of interfacing with reality on a far more interesting level than most people. We've also got plenty of evidence to suggest that the brain is, if not fully understood by magical knowledge, more than capable of being interacted with. We have Legilimency and Obliviations capable of accessing memory, thoughts, knowledge, and intentions; the author is capable of working with things WE don't know about because wizarding knowledge is stated to have been lost, so we also have some unknown-unknowns working against us. So the odds of neural magic having existed in ... (read more)

I predict that Harry will save many or all people who ever died from oblivion with magic that reaches backward through time to capture the mind of each person at the point of their death.

I further predict that this magic will create the mechanism of magic, possibly incidentally, and be responsible for the sort of Atlantis that magical Britons believe in.

I speculate that magic and ghosts are unintended byproducts of Harry's Afterlife Immortality Project.

Harry is an anti-death hero. Whatever villains he may encounter, his enemy is death and his heroic victory will be over his true enemy.

The afterlife figures centrally in the original work in ways that are incompatible with the author's worldview. In this way, the author incorporates important elements of the original work without betraying his convictions.

I made this prediction last April, and wish there had already been an admonishment to share predictions like the one involving 75th, yesterday.

Prediction for Chapter 90: Time Pressure, Part 3:

"Wait a moment," you say. "Time Pressure, Part 3? Harry already lost his race against the clock. Why would Chap. 90 be called 'Time Pressures'?"

Because Harry's race against the clock to save Hermione's life has only just begun, and he has slightly less than six hours left. Eliezer mentioned that one of his most significant purposes of Chap. 86 was to update characters' states of knowledge before the next arc. If you recall, in that chapter, Harry learned the word "horcrux." And in Chap. 87, Harry learned of the philosopher's stone.

So what will Harry do? Get the shell removed from his time turner, or obtain a time turner from someone else. Learn about the Horcrux ritual as quickly as possible, travel back in time, get Hermione to create a horcrux, and erase her memory of doing so thus that her death plays out just as before. Then start working on the stone to restore Hermione to life. (He could also take the "bone of the father, flesh of the servant, blood of the enemy" route, but positively identifying Hermione's enemy could be difficult. Lucius Malfoy and Company, who were tricked i... (read more)

8diagramchaser8yWhile I consider this unlikely, it would help explain the scene with Hermione's soul seemingly leaving her body. As far as I remember the characters who deaths seems we saw in canon didn't have this effect and having a Horocrux would differentiate Hermione from them.
5bramflakes8yI'm not capable of reasoning about time loops in my sleep-deprived state, but would it be possible for Hermione to create her Horcrux by killing herself?
8JoshuaZ8yYes: Consider the following loop: Hermione A goes and kills future Hermione B (who already has a horcrux). Hermione A is then killed by the troll, but has a horcrux (possibly with a mind wipe before so she doesn't know about it). Hermione is then A is then resurrected to be sent back in time to become Hermione B. Then Hermione B is resurrected. However, we know that messing with time is bad and we know that magic with souls is powerful, so this combination looks potentially very dangerous.
3Vladimir_Nesov8yMore generally, if resurrection doesn't require additional sacrifices and doesn't use up a horcrux, people who don't have horcruxes could make them by murdering other people (by arrangement) who already have one (and then resurrecting them). Eventually, everyone is alive and has a horcrux.
3gwern8yPredicted with what probability [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19900]?
3elharo8yI can't see either Harry or Hermione going along with a Horcrux ritual. Just too evil and out of character for both of them. Given the title and some other hints in the story, I think use of a time turner is inevitable; but whatever Harry does it won't involve a Horcrux.
4Alejandro18yNot out of character for Harry; in fact, it would be perfectly in character for him. But Hermione would never go for it.
3ikrase8yI thought that horcruxing required mens rhea.
3David_Gerard8yMens rea [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea], and yes.

a) Quirrel.



a form of viewing screen scry on the desks of a large classroom.

I believe this was specifically put there by Quirrel, who does keep track of muggle accomplishments.

Given that there is a hole drilled through hogwarts, should it now be possible for everyone to deduce that Harry and Quirrell have a telepathic resonance?

I don't think so. Jumping from 'Quirrel knows where to go' to 'telepathic resonance' seems like a major example of privileging the hypothesis.

Even ignoring the issue that as far as we know from canon & MoR, "telepathic resonance" is a completely unknown and novel phenomenon and that people cannot know Quirrel is homing in on Harry rather than say Hermione or the troll, there are still dozens of more likely explanations: the school wards; troll tracking skills as part of the Defense professor's esoteric & eldritch lore; spy devices planted throughout the school; an Eye ("constant vigilance!") or other snooping devices; the Marauder's Map; supernaturally good hearing; tracking charms placed on Harry (IIRC, didn't Quirrel already do just that with Draco?); information from the future (if notes can be passed about bullies, why not trolls?); ghost/poltergeist/painting messages; etc.

8DanArmak8yFrom the POV of Dumbledore, there are several unexplained things about Quirrel's behavior: * Quirrel not only homed in on the troll. At some point he suddenly became so frantic that he blasted his way through Hogwarts. (He didn't do so immediately; indeed when the he goes to look for the troll with the rest of the Professors, he exhibits nothing like this kind of urgency.) This happened just as Harry encountered the troll. * Then, without having reached the troll, he suddenly stopped and said there was no more need to rush. Just as Harry killed the troll and Dumbledore arrived to secure the scene. * All the explanations that say he was tracking the troll and not Harry, imply he should have reached the troll before Harry did. After all, he left before Harry, he was probably moving faster (two-person broomstick vs. three-person), and he was moving in a straight line, blowing holes through the castle. Instead, he didn't even arrive by the time Dumbledore did. Now let's consider your suggestions: I think some are plausible but most are not. Dumbledore would know everything the wards reported. If they alerted Quirrell to the location of the troll, why not Dumbledore (or McGonnagal)? And when they reported the death of Hermione, this should have caused Quirrell to hurry more, not to proclaim there was no more danger. Then why didn't he find the troll before Harry did? (See above) Moderately plausible. But: spy devices which are better than the Hogwarts wards? Or, which allow him to remotely look at any area instead of merely being alerted when a condition is triggered? I don't think Dumbledore approve of him taking such power. And Dumbledore would of course check his story - so the spy devices would need to actually exist, and not have been detected. Not foreshadowed, hence bad storytelling. Then why hadn't he consulted it right away before the professors left to hunt the troll, and see Hermione was out there? It suspends disbeli
3gwern8yMost of those can be explained away with reference to the others and the poor information available to Dumbledore. What stops Quirrel from saying he blasted off when he detected Hermione had been trapped on the terrace and the troll was immune to sunlight? There are no atomic clocks here. Similarly, if he had some surveillance system, he can say he stopped when Hermione died and there was no more need to hurry (alas); between the wards and the soulsplosion, there's plenty of ways for someone like Quirrel to plausibly get the info without positing bizarre unique psychic bonds. There are multiple levels to the wards, and we don't know what Dumbledore or McGonagal do or do not know - I've pointed out that Dumbledore wasn't even in the castle, it seems, and McGonagal has no access to phoenixes and is not a battle mage who can burn through ancient magical walls at the speed of flight. Perhaps he was bored, or piqued at the distrust. We know he admires and imitates Muggle technology - recall the very first class. A spy network is perfectly reasonable. Of course Dumbledore would disapprove and would check for its existence, but sacrificing a spy network seems like a small price to not be the culprit for murdering a little girl. He can always replace it or put in a different system. I'm afraid out-of-universe reasoning is not really available to the characters. :) He can claim she was nowhere near and it was not an emergency until she was trapped on the terrace and it became clear that something had gone terribly wrong. For all we know, Dumbledore might have a hand in the Obliviation. And did Quirrel expect the Obliviation to be detected? One suspects not: he wasn't expecting Harry to be there either. Already explained. "I could explain, but I fear the necessary graphs would make your head explode and neither Snape nor Dumbledore could follow my exact reasoning. As Mr Potter might say, 'do not mess with time'." Him stopping is really not as hard as you think it is.

Time Pressure - the arc title - could also be a reference to the book of the same name by Spider Robinson.

Rot 13 Spoilers for Time Pressure and other Lifehouse/Deathkiller novels By SR:

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Yes, but only if he wants it to be an extinction event. I'm reasonably confident that HPMoR Voldemort does not want the same things as canon Voldemort. In fact, I give it at least a 50% probability that "Voldemort" was a false flag operation from the get go to achieve some other goal, e.g. uniting wizard-kind against muggle threats.

It's also possible that to Harry, 'tricky transfiguration weapon' is more mentally available than 'THE KILLING CURSE'. Also, for the same reason, Harry might not have learned it.

I'm pretty sure that was hyperbole.

First, I have to get the emotional reaction out of the way: holycrap!

Now that that's done, is the last time we've heard about the Marauders' Map when Dumbledore borrowed it to search for Tom Riddle? I don't remember off hand whether that was after TSPE or in Taboo Tradeoffs.

I'm a little perplexed at how Harry's medical treatment didn't seem to work; it sounded like it should have bought several minutes, but the action that followed didn't seem like it could have taken more than 60 seconds. I've only read it the once through, so I could be missing it completely, but the timing felt deliberate. (And all the ticks in 88 seem to emphasize the passage of time, though they could well have just been to emphasize the pressure).

Also, Susan knows how to effectively magic giants? That makes her smarter than Umbridge's entire team-to-sack-Hagrid in canon. I suppose it pays to have a competent defense professor (even if he is the most likely suspect for all the awful that just happened), and the director of the DMLE as a close relative.

I was pretty shocked at the Troll in the Dungeon line. That seemed like something that wouldn't be at all likely to happen with a RATIONAL! Voldemort, foreshadow... (read more)

Re Marauders' Map: Quirrell pretty obviously has it. He obliviated the Weasley twins and took it. This is just the smart thing for him to do.

Note how he's burning straight through to the melee with the troll at the end of Ch. 89 - so he knows exactly where and in what direction Harry and Hermione are. This could also be because of the psychic link, but it also increases the probability he has the map.

3pjeby8yAlternative hypothesis: this is one of several things done by a time traveller creating a consistent time loop. If they had the map, it would have shown Hermione in two places, or else not where she was being attacked. In this scenario, the twins were temporarily obliviated about the map, just so they wouldn't use it. But they still have the map. The disappearance of the map is actually one of the few clues that IMO raises the probability that a time loop is already in progress, besides the ELIZA discussion with "Brienne". Harry also knows that the time turner prohibition can be defeated, with assistance from an adult wizard; his likely next effort (after securing Hermione's body for possible revival) would be to find another way to circumvent both the use prohibition and Time itself. But I guess we'll find out in a few hours. (Squee!) (Not an actual prediction, but it would be awesome if this somehow turns out to be Hermione deliberately faking her own death to assume a cover identity. Among other things, it would be a compelling answer to the "stuffed in a fridge" trope allegations. Not as powerful -- but still more fair to Hermione than the status quo -- would be a flashback that shows her heroically taking on the troll in order to protect someone else, rather than just being a victim. She at least deserves her own epic batlle scene, even if the story requires it appear only in flashback.)
6Vaniver8yMy understanding is that once shock is refractory [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_(circulatory\]#Refractory), there is no turning back (in particular, oxygenation at that stage is useless). I'm not familiar enough with the medicine to know if it's reasonable for her to progress that far that quickly, but my layman's guess is "probably."
3Alsadius8yThe description of refractory shock is that the ATP in the body has already decayed and diffused out of the cells. Would someone in that state have any way of speaking? Or do we assume that the Law of Dramatic Death Scenes is written into a magician's powers?
4Vaniver8yThe dramatic death scene was my interpretation, but I don't have much experience with people dying violently (thankfully). I don't know how realistic dramatic death scenes are or how much wizardly fortitude is worth.
7loup-vaillant8yRecalling a video I have seen (forgot the source), the actual damage wouldn't occur upon hypoxia, but upon re-oxygenation. Lack of oxygen at the cellular level does start a fatal chemical reaction, but the structure of the cells are largely preserved. But when you put oxygen back, everything blows up (or swells up, actually). Harry may very well have killed Hermione with his oxygen shot. If he froze her before then, it might have worked, but after that… her information might be lost. One obvious objection: Hermione was still concious enough to say some last words, ruling out advanced brain de-oxygenation. That could be only for the drama, but still. One obvious consequence: that magic feeling upon death might be linked to plain muggle information-theoretic death somehow. But then, we have horcrucxes and Avada Kedavra… I'm quite confused by HPMOR's "laws of physics".

Wizards have souls. - their minds are running on more than just wetware. I am fairly certain of this, because otherwise shape shifting would be instantly fatal.

5[anonymous]8yHypothesis: Time-Turned Harry has it.

My friend and I were emailing about this update. I asked her for her opinion on it and whether or not she liked it. Here are her thoughts:

"Yeeah, I kind of don't. I posted this review on it yesterday (after quietly fuming for a bit):

If this had been Neville or someone, I'd be commending you on how you handled the emotion here, but as it is I was too annoyed and appalled that you were damseling and then fridging fricking Hermione while halfheartedly suggesting she put up an offscreen fight to be able to appreciate it.

I'm not easily annoyed with fridging, or character death in general. In fact, a lot of my favorite scenes in fiction involve my favorite characters dying, and I've always argued that a character of any gender dying as a vital part of the main character's arc is fine. But Hermione had a huge incomplete arc and you've just rendered the entirety of it pointless. This is Hermione, she wasn't as rational as Harry, she tried to be a hero but only made things worse, she was framed for murder and ended up in a huge debt to Harry, which she had plans to try to settle and potential for interesting emotional growth, except whoops, then she died, and nothing ever came of any o... (read more)

I emailed back, and she elaborated:

"Oh, no, my issue is not with the fact that Eliezer killed a female character for Harry's motivation. Like I said, I like character death. I like character death used to put other characters through an emotional rollercoaster. And when people complain that X is sexist because a female character got fridged, that annoys me because while the trend is an issue, there is nothing wrong or sexist with an individual instance of a character who happens to be female dying for a character who happens to be male. It actually kind of surprised me on a meta level that I was so mad - I have never been annoyed by an individual instance of fridging before.

But the issue here is with the context in this particular instance. Your argument that it had to happen this way is flawed, because it assumes the story prior to the exact point of Hermione's death was fixed and out of Eliezer's hands. I don't have a problem with Eliezer killing Hermione, in itself - but if he was going to, he should have either not given her this character arc in the first place or completed the arc first in a way that gives at least some vague kind of closure. He could also have killed Ne... (read more)

He touched it. In chapter 56 or 55, I forget which, Harry had to wear a glove to ride the room that Quirrell enchanted. In chapter 89, he picks up the troll by the ear.

4ikrase8yI don't think that Harry actually knows for sure that he couldn't touch the broom.

Not wanting to give anything away, I would remind you that what we have seen of Harry so far in the story was intended to resemble the persona of an 18-year-old Eliezer. Whatever Harry has done so far that you would consider to be "Beyond The Impossible", take measure of Eliezer's own life before and after a particular critical event. I would suggest that everything Harry has wrought until this moment has been the work of a child with no greater goal--and that, whatever supporting beams of the setting you feel are currently impervious to being knocked down, well, they haven't even had a motivated rationalist give them even a moment of attention, yet.

I mean, it's not like Harry can't extract a perfect copy of Hermione's material information-theoretic mass (both body and mind) using a combination of a fully-dissected time-turner, a pensieve containing complete braindumps of everyone else she's ever interacted with, a computer cluster manipulating the mirror of Erised into flipping through alternate timelines to explore Hermione's reactions to various hypotheticals, or various other devices strewn about the HP continuum. He might end up with a new baby Hermione (who has Herm... (read more)

Is it just me or has no one in the story really considered that Quirrell = mort? Like, why does the hypothesis that Quirrell = Grindelwald briefly come up first? Why is everyone blindly trusting him even when they think he might be responsible for some of the bad stuff going on? It seems like everyone is doing some serious mental gymnastics to avoid considering that he is actually seriously evil (esp. Hogwarts faculty and Harry).

Yeah. One thing that’s very striking if you read through it while thinking about motivated cognition is just how often words to the effect of “Harry ignored his sense of doom and …” show up. Its really shocking, Harry explicitly and actively ignores a strong sense of doom several times per chapter.

5Qiaochu_Yuan8yYes, I think someone's been tampering with their minds in this respect. It's bizarre that at least Dumbledore or maybe Snape hasn't considered this (Harry doesn't think Voldemort's alive, and McGonagall is engaging in motivated cognition so she can keep Quirrell around to teach as long as possible). Maybe it's related to the curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position.
3elharo8yDoes Harry believe Voldemort is dead? I thought he learned he was alive way back in Chapter 6:
3Qiaochu_Yuan8yHarry expresses a lot more skepticism than that a lot more recently. Chapter 86 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/86]: And:

Cryonics doesn't work on someone that's already dead

What about all the people who signed up to get frozen after they die?

5Qiaochu_Yuan8yPoint, I wasn't carefully distinguishing between legal / clinical death and information-theoretic death. But I think there is reason (namely the magical echo) to believe that Hermione is currently information-theoretically dead, or at the very least has lost her magic.

Do you think Harry would care even the tiniest bit about her losing her magic if she came back to life?

I mean... yes, but not enough to not bring her back to life.

What does self-inflicted Imperius do

The cure to procrastination?

... On a side note.

Hermione Granger, of House Potter, at great cost to House Potter, was just killed on Potter's watch.

Someone please bet this man.

[-][anonymous]8y 10

But you're talking about bringing in people known to fail at rationality due to signaling games. Do you think they can be eventually brought around, or?

[-][anonymous]8y 10

Captain Ron would be the ideal choice.

The problem with the Time-Turner approach is that (given what we understand of the Time-Turner's rules) he'd have to somehow fool first-iteration Harry (and Fred and George) in order to avoid a paradox. The Methods universe is full of tales of time-turning gone wrong; since saving lives is one obvious application of the Time-Turner, Dumbledore surely knows exactly what he can and cannot get away with in that respect.

3Decius8yAll he would need to do is replace Hermione with a suitably transfigured/polyjucied/magicked rat to avoid the paradox. The hard part would be accounting for what the killer will have did to prevent counter-turning.
8Alsadius8yI'm not sure if I love or hate time-travel grammar. A little of both, I think.
3Decius8yI can't figure out how tense I am when I think about it myself.
6Vaniver8yI would imagine that "dying-soul-magic", or whatever that was, is impossible to fake (or, at least, really dang hard to) like prophecy magic.

From canon, and from what nearly happened to Hermione, it is clear that one can be sent to Azkaban while innocent.

What do you want to bet on that? I'd assign your hypothesis an around 35% chance.

8jimrandomh8yOk, there's lots of room between our estimates (35% and 85%) to bet. I propose taking the arithmetic mean of our respective estimates, and betting at 3:2 odds; so I offer $12 against your $8. Offer valid until the next chapter is posted (Jul 1 7pm PST), void if not accepted (by replying with a comment) before then.
3JoshuaZ8ySounds good. Offer accepted. Also, this will either way give me a reason to show up to the next Boston meetup (assuming you are still in the area), which is good because I've been busy with other things.

Why are people here reacting like Hermione is perma-dead?

I get that they'd act that way on reddit, but people here actually believe and sign up for cryonics. Harry's got a whole team of Alcor cryonic specialists right in his wand. And if he can't manage the magic, Dumbledore can. Hermione's soul and magic may have exploded in an impressive lightshow, but her brain is still fully oxygenated and hasn't even begun to decompose.

Everything that makes her her is still doing fine.

(And on a meta level, Elizer knows that fictional examples are strong drivers of behavior. A fictional example of cryonics working would be big for cryonics adoption.)

Harry's brain suggested that an obvious way to stop the Dementors from seeing Bellatrix was to make her stop existing, i.e., kill her. Harry congratulated his brain on thinking outside the box and told it to continue searching. Kill her and then bring her back, came the next suggestion. Use Frigideiro to cool Bellatrix down to the point where her brain activity stops, then warm her up afterward using Thermos, just like people who fall into very cold water can be successfully revived half-an-hour later without noticeable brain damage. Harry considered this. Bellatrix might not survive in her debilitated state. And it might not stop Death from seeing her. And he'd have trouble carrying a cold unconscious Bellatrix very far. And Harry couldn't remember the research on which exact body temperature was supposed to be nonfatal but temporarily-brain-halting.

from http://hpmor.com/chapter/56

5Xachariah8yHe's familiar with cryonics then, or at least the concept of suspended animation. The next line implies that he'd have used the plan if he didn't immediately think up a better one. Any plan he comes up with to save Hermione has to be at least as likely to succeed as cryonics.

Stuffed Into The Fridge, indeed.

High-confidence prediction: Chapters 88-89 are Snape's doing.

7Qiaochu_Yuan8yWhat? Snape has been trying to set up Hermione as a heroine. What does he gain by luring her to her death?

"Your books betrayed you, Potter," said Severus, still in that voice stretched tight by a million tons of pull. "They did not tell you the one thing you needed to know. You cannot learn from stories what it is like to lose the one you love. That is something you could never understand without feeling it yourself."

from http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/27/Harry-Potter-and-the-Methods-of-Rationality

Note: I'm not sure Snape did it, my instinct is that this is the work of QQ. But Snape has reasons.

6gwern8yHow high confidence? http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19862 [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19862]
4ChrisHallquist8ySurely you are joking? If not, I would be very happy to make a bet on that.
3jimrandomh8yI have updated strongly downward on this prediction based on chapters 90-94, especially 94.

Huh. It seems like a lot of people in this discussion are convinced that Hermione is dead and will stay dead. I agree that she is probably currently quite dead; however, I assign a greater than 50 % probability that she will somehow be resurrected.

My prediction: Harry will convince a reluctant Dumbledore to put Hermione's body under some sort of stasis spell (cue discussion of cryonics) while he researches ways to revive her. The resurrection plot will resolve the question whether the HPMoR-verse is reductionist or if there is a body/soul dichotomy (my bet is on the former).

Harry should be screaming at Dumbledore to use his time-turner. There are a lot of options, constrained mostly by the necessity of seeing a Hermione-looking-thing die.

"I've already used it six times today, Harry..."

[-][anonymous]8y 12

In HPMOR, time travel obeys the Novikov self-consistency principle (with the exception of liberal use of deus ex machina to keep it from being over-powered). If it were possible for Harry to use a time-turner to save Hermione, she wouldn't have died in the first place.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
8nebulous8yI'd wondered why no one used a time-turner the moment they knew a troll was loose. Even if Dumbledore had already used up his hours, another professor could've used some form of priority magical communication to call for aurors to travel six hours into the past, swiftly prepare to deal with a Hogwarts-attacking troll, and teleport to the site. Then I realized that Quirrell could prevent all attempts to stop the troll using time travel by exploiting the restriction against information traveling back more than six hours, i.e. by waiting until six hours after he wanted the attack to start, traveling back six hours, and initiating the attack.

Someone should cast a chain-Imperius , commanding the victim to:

1) Not attack anyone else subject to these rules 2) Imperius anyone not subject to these rules, and subject them to these rules 3) Inform your enchanter of any plans you know of that might hinder the grand Imperius effort.

It's established in Rowling!Cannon that the spell can be chained, and Harry has probably read the GNU manifesto, so he should have these sorts of ideas.

A liberal arch-wizard might object that this would reduce the entire world to a dull statis of mindless servitude:


... (read more)
2MugaSofer8yCool. Firstly, where is that established in canon? Secondly, not everyone can cast the Imperius. Thirdly, some people can resist the Imperius, and these people are, I should think, especially likely to do something about it.
2Osuniev8yIn Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Imperiused Pius Thicknesse is charged by the Death Eaters with imperiusing other members of the MoM. (Or was he the one being imperiued by an imperiused ?)

He now has a ring on his hand without a jewel. He could put Hermione there.

How romantic, in a very... Well, something.

I mean... "keeping your best female friend's dead body on a ring on your finger"...

3gwern8yAs it happens, I was reading the The Black Company dark fantasy series lat month; one of the powerful wizards in it, Shifter (he's a shapeshifter specialist) goes around with a staff carved into a beautiful woman - which was originally just that. He's a quasi-insane evil villain. So... the fantasy precedents aren't that great, I guess I am saying.

There's some debate about whether the passage about Hermione's soulsplosion rules out becoming a Hogwarts-anchored ghost. I have offered a bet to chaosmosis (LW, Reddit) on Reddit on this topic - I am skeptical of any ghosts.

chlorine trifluoride

See this and just about everything else in that blog's "things I won't work with" category, which is hilarious (though there are a few links you might not want to follow if easily upset, notably the one about dimethyl mercury).

He would have needed to kill somebody, possibly to have killed somebody with mens rhea

"Mens Rhea!" Is that the spell that makes someone think they're a huge bird that can't fly?

Remember, HPMOR is a rationalist story. There there are not meant to be red herrings.

I don't quite see why. Real world contains a lot of those.

3Alsadius8yPuzzles don't, and EY has stated that he thinks of HPMOR as a solvable problem.

Are you objecting to a time travel argument because it is circular?! Of course it's circular, it's time travel. That's the thing about time travel, it makes causal circles. That's why it drives you insane to think about it.

4Baughn8yIt's about fixed-point solutions. Harry got "Do not mess with time" because he was willing, in that case, to send the same message back. If he hadn't been, he never would have received that message in the first place.

Humans can still be just hardware with a soul. API calls to the cloud.

5Vaniver8ySure- but in a world where souls are immortal and connections can be easily be restored, that sort of resurrection would be likely to already exist. Its absence suggests its impossibility.

In a world with immortal souls, Harry's Patronus goes to find Hermione now. Yes, we can invent reasons why that would fail. Its failure would/will still provide more evidence in the other direction.

In a world with immortal souls, Harry's Patronus goes to find Hermione now.

That is an experimental test I would very much like to see Harry try.

For years, when trying to explain just how easy it is to break D&D 3.5 specifically, my example has always been a 5th level transmutation wizard with shrink item, mage hand, a twenty thousand pound rock and 100d6 of falling object dammage.... And somehow, I managed to not see that coming. I wonder if EY's falling rock idea originally came from D&D.

3Fhyve8yWasn't exactly a falling rock, more like a rapidly expanding jawbreaker.
3ikrase8yI predicted that the rock would be used in more or less this way, although I expected it would be used as a projectile by accelerating the ring to a high speed at an enemy and then Finite Incantatem.

Or an issue of how most humans are not willing to signal extreme utilitarianism because it is used easily to portray people as cold and hard. Moreover, most humans don't distinguish between "things I say for signaling" and "things I say because I believe them." So there are a lot of reasonable explanations for this without it being mindkilling. Also, some people really are just deontologists. Not being willing to answer such a question makes a lot more sense if one has a deontological rule that rape is always bad and wrong.

7Qiaochu_Yuan8yThere's also the issue that talking about certain things in public in a particular way (and the internet counts as public) causes actual mental harm to people.

It appears Quirrell now believes Harry has used the killing curse. Applying Story Logic, this misjudgement of Harry will lead to Terrible Bad Consequences for Quirrell.

Some ramblings before ch90: Quirrell will not learn the truth of how Harry killed the troll, since Dumbledore will memory charm the Weasely brothers (they saw Harry's patronus) and thus discover that their minds have been tampered with (by Quirrell). Suspecting Quirrell, Dumbledore will also erase the Weasely brothers' memories of how Harry actually killed the troll. Quirrell will not actual... (read more)

Bearing in mind that Eliezer consistently foreshadows important events, let's brainstorm what Harry might do to end the world.

First, ritual magic and Dark rituals have played a prominent role in the story. Dark rituals have been mentioned over and over, and it's been emphasized that they are dangerous and powerful.

A magic ritual, much like a magic potion, seems to achieve much more than a spell. In my opinion this is probably because of the same conservation law by which potionmaking uses a small amount of magic to unlock the power already in some sens... (read more)

Hmm. It seems highly likely that the troll was timeturned back six hours itself in order to prevent people using time turning against it - given the amount of prep work that went into this (sabotaging Hermoine's kit, lifting the map, making her miss that meal. sun proofing it...) it would be a major oversight to not do that. Of course, that limits the suspect pool to people who know about time turning. From our perspective, all relevant suspects do, but in universe, this probably does rule out people. For example, if means Lucius may in fact know that it was not one of his minions getting overly ambitious.

It does, but I interpreted it as Harry having to wrestle himself back towards acknowledging the painful fact of Hermione's injuries, as opposed to flinching away.

I think that in the aftermath of Hermione's death, Harry's breaking the rules and leaving the Great Hall is barely even going to be a blip on the radar. I'd be surprised if McGonagall even brings it up. It seems too callous for her.

You could have gotten almost the same result if you had killed Neville without the gender issues.

Only if he had already been writing a yaoi fic... If he killed off Neville, no one would care and he'd open up a can of plot worms ("why Neville? Why not Hermione?").

3JoshuaZ8yOn the contrary, I think Neville could be far more poignant. Hermione wanted to be a heroine independent of Harry, because she has those sorts of cultural goals. Neville only started acting remotely brave because of Harry's influence.

Maybe this is the moment to ask why Hermione isn't already the hero of HP:MOR. If the point of HP:MOR is that someone who is smart and rational (and raised by smart/rational muggles) would immediately find a million holes in the Potter-verse, why not start with the character who is already known to be the smart one, and is at least a bit more rational than canon Harry? Sure, there's some issues with the prophesies -- but (rot13 for spoiler) Hayhaqha had a pretty good solution to that.

I count 30 Ticks, and then no more. Why doesn't the ticking continue, as Harry's still in the Great Hall (with the clock) for a while? Is this just arbitrary, or could the amount of Ticks given be somehow important, perhaps the time Harry would have had to arrive earlier in order to prevent Hermione's untimely death?

7shminux8yFrom Eliezer's facebook post: "Predictably" being an essential part: don't waste your time on what you know is not helpful.

Moody said the slippery slope was due to killing, not due to casting the curse, and Harry still killed the troll. Quote:

Moody shook his head slightly. "One of the dark truths of the Killing Curse, son, is that once you've cast it the first time, it doesn't take much hate to do it again."

"It damages the mind?"

Again Moody shook his head. "No. It's the killing that does that [emphasis mine]. Murder tears the soul - but that's just the same if it's a Cutting Hex. The Killing Curse doesn't crack your soul. It just takes a cracked soul

... (read more)
4[anonymous]8yBut it was also said: Killing the troll was for the greater good so this might not count as soul-cracking murder. But then there's also 'giving himself over fully to the killing intention' which might count.
3William_Quixote8yHarry also kills chickens, cows, and whatever was in that chili they serve at Mary’s Room and more. To Harry a troll isn’t people. Killing it won’t break his soul.
3taelor8yAre trolls sentient/sapient? Does killing one carry the same moral/psychological weight as killing a human? Cononically, they are able to comunicating using a system of grunts, though we don't know enough about it to tell if this is a true language, or merely a call system. We also know that some trolls can understand a few human words, but so can dogs.

Mild evidence against is that Time Turners were (apparently) used to save a life in canon, namely Buckbeak's. Stronger evidence is that no use of a Time Turner in HPMoR has actually altered the timeline; to the extent that there are rules I would expect them to be much more general than that. "Can't save a life" is a deeply inelegant rule. It doesn't cut the universe at its joints.

775th8yCan't tell by your phrasing here whether you're aware of this or not, but no use of a Time Turner in canon altered the timeline, either. Everything that Harry and Hermione did while time-turned was exactly what the trio saw the first time through. That part of HPMoR's time travel rules are identical to canon's, just more thoroughly explained.
5Vaniver8yOn-screen deaths have happened, and thus cannot be altered. Off-screen deaths might not have actually been deaths, and thus can be altered.
[-][anonymous]8y 7

Why would Harry not send his Patronus to Dumbledore, or McGonagall in order to alert them that Hermione was in danger? Why would he not immediately time-turn (break the shell, it's supposed to be a deterrent and/or indication that you've obviously misused it, right?) before he had more information about what was going on?

I'm more upset now than when I read certain scenes in A Storm of Swords; I suppose congratulations are in order for that, but... damn. Do not want.

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
9NancyLebovitz8yNot surprising-- it was clear from A Game of Thrones that Martin was writing That Sort of Universe, but HP:MOR has gone on for a much longer time (and possibly a higher proportion of the story) without that sort of death.
6Qiaochu_Yuan8yMostly I think he was panicking. But I think he had reason to believe that they wouldn't react quickly enough and/or would force him not to look for Hermione. This I'm less clear about.
5MarkusRamikin8yDo not want, indeed. But as to time-turning, the shell would have been enchanted by someone stronger than him in magic, and I imagine he either couldn't do it at all, or couldn't do it without damaging the Time Turner itself.
2pr3sidentspence7yHarry's patronus shattered when he saw Hermione's state. He was emotionally incapable of casting it.

Harry has never successfully used a Time Turner to prevent something that has already happened.

It seems ridiculous that Hogwarts doesn't have any kind of PA system, even schools in the 90's had that.

Also, basically no kind of preparation for disasters at all even though they were in the middle of a war 10 years ago. They didn't even do head counts.

It seems ridiculous that Hogwarts doesn't have any kind of PA system, wasn't even schools in the 90's had that.

The wizarding world doesn't keep track of muggle accomplishments.

I think the elixir of life stops aging, not death from blood loss. Of course, if you can avoid paradoxes, traveling back in time and applying a tourniquet earlier would save her.

Nah, not really. The Marauder's Map is the obvious thing to try when searching for someone in Hogwarts, he wouldn't release any information to the Weasleys. And, of course, Dumbledore does trust the Weasleys. It did suggest the Map to Quirrell as a device he'd want to confiscate, but it's not really in Dumbledore's nature to think that far ahead.

4maia8yI guess the question is, how many levels deep is Dumbledore playing? I think it's possible he's smart enough to predict that Voldemort would do this, and take the map away from them as a precaution. But not super likely. But other than that, I don't see a motivation for Dumbledore to confiscate it; he seems to like that the Weasleys have it. It's a token of Gryffindorishness, flouting the letter of the law to pull pranks and help out their friends or what have you. And Dumbledore likes that, I think.
3Qiaochu_Yuan8yRight, but Dumbledore also thinks there's a war going on. The map seems like too useful a tool for either side to have for Dumbledore to be so cavalier about leaving it in the twins' hands.
5Intrism8yI would understand Dumbledore confiscating the map. But, if he were to confiscate it, he would do only that, not Obliviate the Weasleys such that they'd have no memory of ever possessing such a map. It would seem cruel and pointless to him.
5Qiaochu_Yuan8ySuppose Dumbledore thinks his enemies aren't aware that the map exists. If he believes one of his enemies is a Legilimens and is periodically scanning the students' minds, he might not want to take the risk of them scanning the Weasley twins and discovering the existence of the map. But I admit I'm stretching at this point.
7Decius8yIf that enemy exists, he already knows.
5Benya8yUpvoted for qualifying the clever argument with the admission that it is a stretch.

If there are thousands of inmates at Azkaban, and the wizarding justice system is not always absolutely correct, even if then are only wrong a percent or two of the time, there are tens or even maybe hundreds of innocent prisoners of Azkaban. So, "not the usual outcome", is irrelevant, what matters is the numbers. But of course it doesn't hit as hard, and that is precisely because of the numbers. It is a bug in the human brain that one innocent person being ripped to death in front of you hurts a lot more than tens of innocent people being tortured to death out of sight, especially surrounded by thousands more people also being tortured to death who some say have lower moral priority.

Rita Skeeter came before Dumbledore borrowed the map, and Fred and George's comments on the glitches were in a context where revealing them to be Rita Skeeter would have made sense (or at least, revealing it by now). It's strongly implied that they just paid someone (my guess is Lockheart) to false-memory charm Skeeter. This points away from the same charmer being behind the Rita Skeeter prank and obliviating the twins' memories of the map; the charmer in Rita Skeeter's case is apparently ridiculously competent (one reason I suspect Lockheart), whereas the twins' recent obliviation was fairly crude.

Harry has shown again and again that he can't lose, and instead doubles-down. He did so with Hermione, and now Lucius has killed her. If people realise it's Lucius, all the better for him; nothing can be proved, but he shows himself to be extremely dangerous and willing to protect his family.

That's plausible, but if so, it seems like a very disproportionate response from the Remembrall; that is assuming that under ordinary circumstances Remembralls light up like they do in canon, which I suppose is not necessarily a given.

It was a surprisingly good day because he didn't intend Harry to try to rescue Hermione. Harry was supposed to find out about her death later. He couldn't be absolutely sure her death would have the precisely correct effect on Harry, either. It was surprisingly good because he got Dead Hermione and Dark Harry out of the deal; an expectedly good day would have been just getting the former.

Fred and George give Dumbledore the map way after they bust Rita Skeeter, so they had to have remembered the map existed for at least that long.

I'm betting Hermione is really, really dead (though Harry may yet resurrect her). However, remember that writing a story is often the inverse of reading it. It's like solving a maze by starting from the goal and working backward to the beginning: often much easier.

If (big if) Hermione is resurrected and/or not really dead, then Eliezer very likely started from a narrative goal of having Harry see Hermione's horrible but fake/reversible death and then worked backwards from there to make it happen. As readers we have the much tougher task of working forward ... (read more)

McGonagall is savvy enough to know that the current defense professor is at fault for something like this; Quirrell pushed his luck in manipulating her into taking the actions she did, including providing him a single point of false-memory charm to an alibi for whatever he needs to do (including stealing a time-turner, meeting his future self, confirming that everything appears to will have gone well, and then going back to set up the scenario in the first place).

ETA: And even if it wasn't Malfoy & co, it is believable that they would think it was one of them.

We find out he didn't trust Quirrel (as he tells Snape in flashback to keep an eye on Quirrel), I don't think we find out he knew Quirrel was being possessed by Voldemort.

No, what "stirred up so much hostility" was you're suggestion that we censor people for being "unmarketable".

Thanks. It's rather obvious once you point it out. Not the first time my self-centeredness has blinded me to the real reason people were cross with me, won't be the last.

Censorship is necessary. The poison that kills your garden and undermines your movement won't always be the new blood or the outsider. Sometimes it will be someone you respect who steps out of bounds.

2Eugine_Nier8yThat post was about deleting people who refuse to engage in rational argument, not deleting posts that use rational argument in ways that are "unmarketable" as you put it. Let's put it this way, would you also suggest we delete all the posts critical of religion because it also puts of a lot of people?
[-][anonymous]8y 5

"Time Pressure" is a pun! Somewhere previously, prophecies were described as being caused by a sort of pressure built up on time, and TP2 ends in a prophecy.

A close read indicates that he probably hasn't - he seems to be somewhere in the middle of Hogwarts, burning through walls, and abruptly stops once the troll is killed, and not actually present. And while he does respect Harry's ability, an AK is probably the most parsimonious explanation for 'how did Harry just kill an enchanted adult troll in a few seconds?'

3shminux8yI doubt it. Quirrell knows that, with high probability, no one taught Harry AK. There are other ways Harry could know it, for example from his memories of Lily and Voldemort using it, or through the link, or by remembering Quirrell doing it in Azkaban, but this seems like a stretch. On the other hand, Quirrell knows that Harry can be extremely inventive and extremely deadly when he means to. Also, I don't see why Eliezer would need this twist for the rest of the plot.

Let me use this opportunity to re-raise a question I've been puzzled about for awhile now: how does Harry win?

According to an author's note, we have "two major story arcs" left before the fic is finished. Eliezer also mentioned possibly doing a "solve this puzzle or the fic ends sad" thing, but implies he's at least going to give Harry a chance to win.

It's not certain what "two major story arcs" means in terms of story time, but it seems very likely that it at least means "before the start of the next Hogwarts school year... (read more)

merely facing up to Minerva McGonagall is enough to make him have to excuse himself and go retch

This line has actually been changed to:

he grabbed the magical self-cleaning towel and, with shaky hands, wiped moisture off his forehead. Harry's entire body was sheathed in sweat which had soaked clear through his Muggle clothing, though at least it didn't show through the robes.

(at the end of ch6)

It doesn't take away from your point, just remarking that there are some details in the early chapters that have been changed.

While I'm putting it at over 90% that Hermione will be resurrected somehow, someway, it doesn't need to be in his first year.

And we never did hear back from her on that topic, did we?

In HPMOR, portkeys do not work in Hogwarts (chapter 63).

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

Harry, feeling disassociated from himself? No; a few seconds later we have

"Fire and acid!" Harry shouted. "Use fire or acid!"

Disassociated-Harry shows up later, I think, but that first call doesn't seem to be Harry's.

I think it is supposed to be Harry - before a voice said that, the text simply blanked out, refused to state what the troll held or the troll dropped. After the text explicitly states the state Hermione is in, then we get Harry's statement about fire and acid.

Cryonics doesn't work on someone that's already dead

? I wasn't aware cryonics had ever been done on someone that's already alive.

EY, you are one thousand times worse than Joss Whedon.

3Alicorn8yDoes that mean that Joss Whedon is .0007 Alicorns mean [https://twitter.com/esynclairs/status/351142889306324992]?

It's implied that Quirrel expects Harry to have used it. It's what Quirrel should expect and even want, if he is behind the troll.

(TVTropes warning!)

It was (dark) humor. Hyperbole. Of course he's not going at 0.003c!

[-][anonymous]8y 10

Awww, I would have said it was (light) humor.

Quirrell can feel Harry's emotions. This can partially explain at least some of the cases when he unexpectedly realized what Harry was thinking (for instance, this probably gave him some information during their conversation about Parseltongue). It might be worthwhile to find all cases when they talked and Harry attempted to hide his emotions.

The thing is that PTSD is really not that binary, like many mental illnesses, it has a wide range of symptoms and severity levels. What Nancy is talking about is how one death can push one drastically over, skipping much of the middle range where it might be ambiguous if one had symptoms severe enough to be diagnoseable. (Disclaimer, while I've heard the same sort of things NancyLebovitz is talking about, I'm not aware of any studies actually supporting this.)

2sebmathguy8yGot it. I was previously having difficulty making that belief pay rent.

it opens at 9. he can go back as early as 3Pm.

He'd already thought "action.run: twins get eaten". so...yeah.

His inability to influence Harry through the link does not reflect an inability to influence him at all. His influencing the everloving fuck out of Harry in Defense Class.

The part where he can't use magic on Harry is more of a poked hole in this theory, though. I can answer it, of course, but not without raising more questions. I'll think about that one.

Quirel has often stated his dislike of Harry holding back because of silly things like "morality" and "what others might think of him". As Draco said in an early chapter: when confronted with a complicated plot look at what ends up happening and assume it was the intended outcome. Harry went fully into his dark side, switched off his censors and killed the troll in about 5 seconds. Even if Harry stayed behind in the Great Hall and learned about Hermione's death later it would still make him go to his dark side like never before. This b... (read more)

In canon "Troll" was defense layer number.. 5? Anyone in that deep can fairly be considered to be asking for it. If this is the case, the naive reading of events is that it got loose because someone was cracking the defenses...

4ygert8yIn canon, there were two different trolls: One that got in and attacked Hermione, and one that was guarding the stone. Two totally different trolls, although many have noted that both were supplied by Quirrell. (And actually, because of this it has become fanon that Quirrell has a talent in dealing with trolls. (Although that Quirrell is a very different person from HPMOR's Hansonian Quirrell, so don't read to much into this with regards to HPMOR.))
7Desrtopa8yI believe that Quirrell actually stated this in canon. When he admitted in the chamber which held the Philosopher's Stone that he was the one who had supplied the troll for the defenses, he said he had a knack for dealing with them, or something to that effect.

If we're talking about the story as a whole, sure. If we're talking specifically about the two incarnations of Ch. 85 (which I was), let me quote:

This day your war against Voldemort has begun...

Dumbledore had said that, after the Incident with Rescuing Bellatrix from Azkaban. That had been a false alarm, but the phrase expressed the sentiment well.

Two nights ago his war had begun, and Harry didn't know with who.


Someone had declared war against Harry, their first strike had been meant to take out Draco and Hermione both, and it was only by the barest

... (read more)

Thank you for providing the subhuman masses an example of warmth and love. I am truly touched by your radiating compassion.

  1. The mana cost for incendio is probably much higher than a thin sheet of transfig.
  2. I think that incendio simply forms a blowtorch or igntes the outside of objects. Weaponized partial transfig will ALWAYS be more powerful than first-year spells at a first-year mana supply. Partial transfig can slice things up, which is what Harry needed to do.

Question: how emotionally plausible do people find Harry's reaction to Hermione's death?

In the Sorting Hat chapter, Eliezer gave us a very strong hint that Harry would very nearly turn dark at some point in this fic, and by the end of chapter 87 it seemed all but certain.

All the stuff pointing in the Harry-going-dark direction up til this point has felt very emotionally plausible. But... "He would rip apart the foundations of reality itself to get Hermione Granger back"? I'm having a hard time buying it.

And it invites some unflattering compariso... (read more)

I didn't see Harry going supervillain there. His thoughts seemed consistent with his overall goals so far: "become omnipotent and rewrite reality because I have some objections to the way it works now". It was just more dramatically stated this time. Because Harry was, you know, upset.

9elharo8yI think this is fully in keeping with his previous plan to tear down Azkaban, possibly at the cost of his own life, to save Hermione. It's just that right now he doesn't yet know what he needs to do to save her. In the previous arc he could be more specific. Also note that Harry does not see "rip apart the foundations of reality itself" as necessarily a bad thing. He's been planning to do that since the very early chapters anyway. Now he just needs to move his schedule forward a bit.
9ikrase8yI don't think he's neccesarily going full supervillian. It's not like Doctor Horrible, probably. More likely, he's going to demand additional resources and start looking for a way to seriously go munchkin with magic physics.
6Qiaochu_Yuan8yPlausible. If I thought I could rip apart the foundations of reality to get someone I care about back, I would probably at least try.

Let me be more specific then.

*Dumbledore has had the intention of creating the boy who lived since before Harry's birth and likely, before his parent's marriage.

*Dumbledore has access to many, many more prophecies than anyone else and has been using this fact for decades.

2Alsadius8yThose are vastly more interesting predictions. Plausible, and it'd be an interesting story if true.

I already knew about it when I read DKA's ClF3 chapter.

Of course, if you can transfigure as fast as Quirrel can, you might be best off with a transfigured Iron Man suit.

The name apparently originates in some exposition from Moody in Chapter 86 that Eliezer chose to elide. It appears the exposition is covered up by this line:

And Moody told them who the Department of Magical Law Enforcement thought 'Quirinus Quirrell' really was.

Of course, but the story has been very high on foreshadowing and low on red herrings to date, so I suspect that will continue.

Dungeon Keeper Ami? Dude, just read Ignition by John Clark.

”It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that's the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water-with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals-steel, copper, aluminium, etc.-because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which pr

... (read more)

Without getting into a tiresome analysis of identity theory, Quirrell is currently almost entirely Voldemort, while Harry has a little of the devil in him.

You'd polyjuice another human into Hermione. Thus, when the imposter dies, there would still be the "dying-soul-magic" of a human dying.

Does this sound like someone polyjuiced into Hermione to you?

There was a burst of something that was magic and also more, a shout louder than an earthquake and containing a thousand books, a thousand libraries, all spoken in a single cry that was Hermione; too vast to be understood, except that Harry suddenly knew that Hermione had whited out the pain, and was glad not to be dying alone.

I don't think this new prophecy is going to make his day.

He'd felt the boy give himself over fully to the killing intention. That was when the Defense Professor had begun burning through the substance of Hogwarts, trying to reach the battle in time.

What was he going to do when he got there in time?

The paragraph before that one suggests that Quirrell was trying to keep Harry alive. It seems to imply that he was trying to get to the battle in time to ensure that Harry does not get himself killed.

It's not obvious to me how to fake the soul releasing. It was perceived by the magic-sense, not just with the muggle senses.

4NancyLebovitz8yHere's a miserable plot possibility. Hermione was concealed, something went wrong, and the feeling of her mind going past was because a number of other things happened, and the concealed Hermione was killed. Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

I thought it worked by size? I'm pretty sure that was stated earlier in the story. And I'd imagine that a boulder like Harry's father's rock could be roughly a similar size/wight/mass to a 12 year old girl.

I also don't think Harry can sustain a transfiguration like that for long without exhausting his limited supply of magical energy.

While I agree with the rest of the comment, this part is strictly false. We know that Harry can sustain a transfiguration roughly like that indefinitely, as evidenced by his father's rock.

God damn it.

Ineffectual only if Quirrell helps, right?

7Decius8yHarry can do partial transfiguration.
3rocurley8yAhh. That does seem like it might work.
5Decius8yFor that matter, if Harry thought to try it in violation of most of the safety lecture, he might have better treated her. It depends on how much accurate biochemistry Harry knows- and what happens when CO2 transfigured into oxygen which burns more carbon refigures in the bloodstream. Although Harry has demonstrated the ability to sustain long transfigurations, I would say that it's reasonable that he thinks his medical supplies are more likely to work than experimental medical magic.

The following is wild 5am speculation.

And so the theory changes shape. Previously I had thought that there were multiple pieces on the gameboard but now I fear this is not so. Hermione Granger has been Legilimised into harm's way until destroyed and that has in turn destroyed Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres. He is no longer a game-piece but is the final stage of nothing more than an experiment, set into place by He Who Must Not Be Named (and indeed cannot be named, as his real name is so old it has no meaning to anyone or anything but his faintest memories... (read more)

Dumbledore teleported by pheonix. I don't think a disguised death eater could do that.

4Decius8yYeah, that solution solves the immediate problem by introducing a much larger one.

Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

Thank you for saying this. I've been hoping someone would make note of this. Don't people remember the fight with the bullies in ch 73?

Three blasts of brilliance slammed into Susan at once, she had her wand raised as though she could counter them and there was a white flash as the hexes struck the magical wood, but then Susan's legs convulsed and sent her flying into a corridor wall. Her head hit with a strang

... (read more)
[-][anonymous]8y 3

Trigger warning: comparisons involving rape

If you (generic “you”) must compare being raped to being cuckolded, you don't get to compare the least bad case of the former (“gentle, silent rape” of an unconscious woman leading to no physical injury, no STD, no pregnancy, and no memory) with one of the worst possible outcomes for the latter (your wife gets pregnant, gives birth to a child, and you never find out it's not yours until you've spent a bajillion dollars).

(I wish I could downvote myself.)

Edit: from the upvotes and the asterisk, it looks like I had a... (read more)

The Agreement Theorem is a consider-a-spherical-cow sort of result; its preconditions are absurdly strong. (In particular, the fact that the agents concerned are required not only to be perfect Bayesian reasoners but to have common knowledge that they are so.)

But even without Aumann one might hope for better agreement than we actually see...

Amelia Bones isn't a member of the Order of the Phoenix.

Emmeline wasn't a member of the Order of the Phoenix any more, they had disbanded after the end of the last war. And during the war, she'd known, they'd all known, that Director Crouch had quietly approved of their off-the-books battle.

Director Bones wasn't Crouch.


"That depends," Amelia said in a hard voice. "Are you here to help us catch criminals, or to protect them from the consequences of their actions?" Are you going to try to stop the killer of my brother from getting

... (read more)
375th8yWell, I think Lucius probably made sure a long time ago that everyone knew what Dumbledore (supposedly) said to him. I didn't get the feeling from that scene in the Wizengamot that Dumbledore-killing-Narcissa was any kind of a secret idea that people were just then finding out about. This does rather change my view of some of the peripheral details, though. Previously, one possibility I pictured was Dumbledore restraining Amelia from her vengeance until Aberforth died, then relenting. I knew Amelia Bones wasn't in the OotP, and I knew she felt distaste at Dumbledore's softness, but somehow I never completely drew the conclusion that she wouldn't care one whit about what Dumbledore said or thought, and therefore probably wouldn't have cared if he had tried to restrain her. Perhaps more likely, then, is the other way I pictured it: that Amelia couldn't get to Narcissa by herself, and after Aberforth's death, Dumbledore actively approached Amelia and said "Okay, I'm ready to help. I'll be the ward-breaker, you do the deed."
5pedanterrific8yWhoops, looks like you're right, the accusation was public knowledge:

He only stepped in it because its a hot-button political topic, much like abortion.

When someone is controversial for the sake of being controversial, it would be foolish for them to not anticipate consequences like no longer being accepted in mainstream company. Or ever company one or two standard deviations of 'daring' away from the mainstream in some cases.

I get that it take bravery to do this kind of thing. (Or it could take foolishness. I'm not saying that's what happened here, but I wouldn't tell someone who believed to to be so that I had stron... (read more)

In fact, it convinces me all the more that the path I'm turning away from, the one where I introduce friends to Less Wrong, was not a worthwhile path.

Going by your description of your friends, I'm inclined to agree.

Given that this universe settled on an explicit message about not messing with time, and given how much magic apparently involves naive mental entities, it seems like anthropomorphizing the laws of physics is a much more useful heuristic in the HP universe than it is in ours.

I don't understand how Quirrell could possibly be behind the troll situation, given that he apparently didn't know where the troll would be and had to resort to extreme measures to get to the scene quickly, instead of conveniently waiting just nearby.

4JoshuaZ8yOne level above. Edit: Actually I take that back, because that means all evidence would point to Quirrel no matter what. This is a fully general argument for Quirrel being behind everything ever.
7Alejandro18yWell, maybe Quirell is behind everything ever.
3drethelin8y1) Trolls move around. 2) Quirrel had to be in the great hall with everyone else to allay suspicion 3) I don't think he planned on Harry confronting the troll. He only started going to where the troll was when Harry confronted it. He only knew where the troll was because he knew where Harry was. 4) If he planned on Hermione being killed (as opposed to the troll being a distraction for getting the Marauder's Map or some other scheme, as in Canon), it's in his interested to "search" for the troll far enough away that it has time to chase down and kill her before he can get to the scene, because not arriving in time is less suspicious than "failing" to save her.

What with the timey-wimey shenanigans in the writing and her brain not having spent too much time "dead" yet, I'm suspecting Hermione will yet live.

What with the show and Dumbledore's diagnosis, I'm suspecting Magic will continue to think her dead and thus her career as a witch being over (pending Harry hacking the Source of Magic).

Plus repercussions of the "Do not mess with time" kind.

Why would Dumbledore enchant the troll against sunlight if it was going to be in the third-floor corridor all along?

To defend it against anyone with a sunlight-generating spell or who has some acorn potion handy.

If he had been willing to do that, he wouldn't have received "do not mess with time".

Though I notice I'm confused as to how, exactly, the universe can figure out he'd create a paradox in this situation without actually running the computation to see what happens. Probably it can't. Probably time-travel is hilariously unethical.

Given that a bunch of people in the Great Hall should know about the fact that one can send messages via patronus, it's a bit unlikely that no one of them thinks about sending a patronus to Minerva.

Harry is also quite stupid for sending the patroneus to Hermonine instead of addressing Dumbledore who could use the time turner (in Harry's perspective) and who also can go directly to Hermoine via Fawkes and is able to fight the troll. But then Harry thinks that he's the hero who has to do things himself, so that can be forgiven.

We could certainly expect Min... (read more)